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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Delli Colli

Experiential and Participatory Learning : Textbook Section Reading Guide

Updated: May 2

Reading Guide Section 17: Beyond Grades

Summary: The author emphasizes the importance of education for personal growth, rather than just getting good grades. The author argues that the education system places too much emphasis on grades and not enough on skills, values, and beliefs. The author suggests that parents should appreciate the areas in which their children excel and institutions should be more flexible in their teaching methods.

Reading recommendations:

  • "Rethinking Grades" by Mark Barnes

  • "Grades vs. Learning: Shifting Attention to What Really Matters" by David Gooblar

"Rethinking Grades" challenges the traditional approach to grades and suggests alternative methods of assessment that focus on learning, rather than just performance. The author argues that grades can be demotivating and limit learning, and provides strategies for teachers and students to move beyond grades.

"Grades vs. Learning: Shifting Attention to What Really Matters" explores the relationship between grades and learning, and the problems with focusing solely on grades. The author provides practical suggestions for teachers to prioritize learning and create more meaningful assessments.

By engaging with these resources, students can gain a deeper understanding of the limitations of grades and the importance of learning for personal growth.

Reading Guide Section 18: Group Up This section discusses the importance of working effectively in groups for students. The author, Twinkle Paul, shares her personal experience of initially disliking group activities, but later realizing the benefits of working in a group during her post-secondary education in health sciences.

The author emphasizes the importance of effective communication in group work, as a lack of communication can negatively impact productivity and cohesiveness. The author also highlights the value of sharing experiences and emotions within a group, as it can contribute to a world of knowledge and help individuals grow in their problem-solving skills.

Finally, the author discusses the sense of wellbeing and team spirit that comes from working in a group and concludes that effective communication, sharing behavior, and teamwork are the three pillars of group work. The author encourages students to be a part of a group in order to further develop their learning abilities and become more responsible.

Reading Guide Section 19: Making Learning More Real

Introduction: This section focuses on how educators can make learning more relevant and meaningful to students by creating real-world connections. It highlights the importance of using authentic contexts and experiences to engage students and deepen their understanding of the content.

Key Concepts:

  1. Authentic Learning: This is a teaching approach that involves connecting classroom learning to real-world situations, issues, and challenges. It provides students with opportunities to apply what they have learned in meaningful and relevant contexts.

  2. Experiential Learning: This is a learning approach that emphasizes hands-on, real-world experiences as a way of deepening students' understanding of concepts and skills. It involves learning by doing and reflection on the experience.

  3. Project-Based Learning: This is a teaching approach that involves students working on a project that is relevant to their lives and interests. It allows students to apply what they have learned in an authentic context, while also developing essential skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

  4. Community-Based Learning: This is a teaching approach that involves connecting classroom learning to the local community. It provides students with opportunities to engage with community members, organizations, and issues, and to apply what they have learned in meaningful ways.

  5. Authentic Assessment: This is an assessment approach that involves evaluating students' knowledge, skills, and understanding in real-world contexts. It provides a more accurate and meaningful measure of student learning than traditional assessments.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What are some benefits of authentic learning?

  2. How can project-based learning help students develop essential skills?

  3. What is community-based learning and why is it important?

  4. How can authentic assessment support student learning?

  5. What are some challenges to implementing authentic learning experiences in the classroom?

Activities to Try:

  1. Plan a project-based learning activity that connects to a real-world issue or challenge.

  2. Brainstorm ways to incorporate community-based learning into your curriculum.

  3. Create an authentic assessment that evaluates student learning in a real-world context.

  4. Reflect on a recent lesson or unit and consider how you could make it more authentic and relevant to students' lives.

  5. Collaborate with colleagues to design an interdisciplinary unit that integrates authentic learning experiences across subject areas.

Additional Resources:

  1. Authentic Learning Experiences: A Real-World Approach to Project-Based Learning by Dayna Laur

  2. The Power of Community-Engaged Learning by KerryAnn O'Meara and Kirsten T. Edwards

  3. The Authentic Assessment Toolbox by Jon Mueller

  4. Edutopia's Project-Based Learning page

  5. Community-Based Learning: Engaging Students for Success and Citizenship by Barbara Jacoby and Associates

Reading Guide for Section 20: Team and Group Work


  • Importance of working in groups in various settings.

  • Natural leaders and followers emerge, conflicts can arise, and collaboration is key.

Working Alone vs. Working in Groups

  • Advantages and disadvantages of each.

  • Examples of when each might be preferable.

  • Collaboration, sharing responsibility, and teamwork are emphasized in group work.

Effective Working Groups

  • Characteristics of successful groups, including a shared sense of purpose, open communication, and problem-solving focus.

  • Importance of trust, balance, and evaluation in group dynamics.

  • Mistakes and conflict are viewed as opportunities for learning and growth.

Stages in Group Formation

  • Bruce Tuckman’s model of group formation: forming, storming, norming, and performing.

  • Conflict is natural and can lead to a positive outcome when handled effectively.

  • Importance of understanding and managing group processes.

  1. "A Field Guide to 'Jobs that Don't Exist Yet'" by Benjamin Doxtdator The article explores the idea of jobs that do not currently exist but may be created in the future due to technological advancements and changing societal needs. The author argues that education systems should prepare students for such jobs by teaching them to think creatively and critically, and by providing them with opportunities to collaborate and learn new skills.

  2. "Why Students Hate Group Projects (and How to Change That)" by James M. Lang The article discusses common complaints from students about group projects and offers suggestions for making them more effective and enjoyable. Lang recommends that instructors clearly define expectations for group work, assign roles to group members, provide opportunities for individual reflection, and give students the chance to provide feedback on the group process.

  3. "You'll Forget Most of What You Learn. What Should You Do About That?" by Adam Mastoianni The article explores the idea of forgetting as a natural part of the learning process and suggests strategies for retaining information over the long term. Mastoianni recommends that learners actively engage with material, space out their learning over time, test themselves on what they have learned, and connect new information to existing knowledge.

  4. "Why Failure Is Necessary for Growth" by Brandon Stosuy The article argues that failure is a necessary part of the learning process and should be embraced rather than avoided. Stosuy suggests that learners should reflect on their failures, use them as opportunities to learn and grow, and seek out challenges that may lead to failure.

  5. "9 Ways to 'Rewild Your Attention'" by Clive Thompson The article offers strategies for managing distractions and increasing focus in a world filled with digital distractions. Thompson recommends that learners create intentional spaces for focused work, limit their exposure to digital media, and engage in activities that promote mindfulness and relaxation.

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