What is Holistic Learning?
Holistic Learning refers to a concept that regards learning as an evolving process and as such it builds upon the concepts of experiential, empirical, relational, intergenerational and mindfulness. Holistic Learning builds on these concepts to build upon what we learn in the past and learns as we grow and change in our personal and professional lives. Holistic Learning includes various learning styles such as;
Holistic Learning focuses on the philosophy of connection and interdependence. Therefore, the learner is viewed as a complete whole with mind, body, emotions and soul in the learner’s experience. Holistic Learning incorporates various types of learning styles for individuals who may have strong sense of self, as well as those who are not strong in relation to certain areas of their life. In addition, holistic learning considers learners who have a strong sense of values in the learning process.
A strong sense of self is considered a necessity in holistic learning. Students who are strong in themselves will be able to think critically and creatively in all situations. On the other hand, weak learners will find it difficult to think and move beyond the initial learning objectives in a meaningful manner. Thus both the strong and weak learners in holistic education will benefit from the learning environment.
Another important objective in holistic learning is learning about one’s interdependence with others. This aspect of learning helps the learners to develop a respect, understanding, as well as concern for the needs of others especially the young ones. In this way, learning activities in a class will be more meaningful, interesting and most importantly, one way. The most significant advantage in one way learning activities is that they allow the learners to learn at their own pace.
Classroom based holistic learning activities are usually one way because there is no real interaction between classmates. However, some classes have good facilitators that encourage one-way interaction among classmates so that the students can get to know each other better and boost the confidence in themselves. For example, a group of youngsters may be working on a project together when a facilitator makes them visit a supermarket together. This experience will help them get to know each other better and boost the confidence in each other.
Holistic education is particularly effective for the children with special needs like the ADHD child. Holistic Learning offers early learning opportunities, which are most especially effective for the children who are hard work and extremely motivated to do well in the class. The young children in a class who have special needs will be motivated enough to learn and grow. In contrast, they will not be motivated to learn in the classroom with the rest of the classmates who have similar profiles.
A Holistic Learning class consists of five major components which are:
- Data collection,
The most important element in Holistic Learning process is Data collection, which refers to obtaining information about the learners. This can be done with the help of different ways like interviewing, surveys, focus groups and interviews etc. After data collection, it is vital that one plans the strategy that one plans to use for the learners, specifically, the strategies that will work for them. Next is Planning, which refers to drawing out different scenarios that the learners can encounter in their daily lives and how these situations can play out. Testing is also very essential in the Holistic Learning, as it refers to performing skills-based exams which will measure the learners’ progress.
Finally, the last component is Reporting, which refers to evaluating the learning activities of the learners and providing reports to the teachers, parents, guardians, and to other professionals involved. It is very crucial to conduct holistic approach in teaching, since a good teacher will be able to combine various methods of learning such as formal classroom teaching, group interaction, literature reading, video games, simulations, informal learning, and experiential teaching etc. Thus, Holistic Learning provides a valuable combination of methods to educators, allowing them to teach students better.
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