It’s no secret that working with your hands can boost stimulation to your brain. No group needs this type of stimulation more than adolescent elementary and middle schoolers. Goodwin University has said, “Children in all stages, from preschool age through their teenage years, are continuously developing and growing.” This may seem quite obvious, but many educational institutions put a strong focus on S.T.E.M (science, technology, engineering, and math), with the justified belief that those fields are and will continue to be the fastest growing. However, hands-on learning is equally as important for a career choice, and more especially for developing youth.
Goodwin University has also said, “During these extremely critical periods of growth, the more that children can immerse themselves in, and engage with, their education, the more they will be motivated and take pride in all that they learn. This is where hands-on learning truly comes into play.” There is much evidence to suggest that being a ‘multi-sensory learner’ will be greatly beneficial to school-aged children. Perhaps on a more critical level, multi-sensory learning will also benefit students with learning disabilities. Prompting students to use their hands to complete a project activates several areas of the brain that are not accessed when they are simply listening to a teacher or reading black and white text.
“Hands-on learning is a decidedly personal experience, but it should also be a communal one whenever possible – you’ll need to work well with others in an employment position, after all. Instead of allowing impatience or a competitive streak to spoil the experience, consciously spend time watching how others interact with the same problems you may already know how to solve.” Some vital questions to keep in mind when completing an assignment or project are:
- “Did they use the materials in unexpected or unfamiliar ways while still solving the issue?
- Did they use more or less of a material than you would have done yourself?
- Did they tackle a certain step with more expertise than you’ve been able to? How?
- What did they struggle with while trying to solve the project or scenario?”
If you are an educator or a parent, leaving space for these conversations will produce an extremely positive outcome for your student or child.