Real-WORLD Learning

Real-WORLD Learning

Jun 6
Debra Korte, Teaching Assistant Professor, Agricultural Education

I feel fortunate to have a career which provides me the opportunity to prepare future teachers and leaders for the agriculture industry. In addition to planning curriculum and designing instructional strategies to best meet the needs of students and adults, I find myself frequently discussing the value of real-world learning. My personal definitions of real-world learning – Teach people how to apply textbook knowledge in real-world applications. Teach people how to use the information they have learned in the classroom in the real world. Teach people how to use their resources to solve problems in the real world.

I developed a new definition of real-world learning during a recent study abroad experience. Organized by Dr. David Rosch, Assistant Professor in Agricultural Leadership Education, I had the chance to travel to Italy with 16 Agricultural Education students. I saw students experience real WORLD learning.

Students’ views of the world were expanded as they saw firsthand some of the greatest and most widely recognized historical sites and works of art. The Colosseum. Trevi Fountain. The Basilica and St. Peter’s Square. Michelangelo’s David sculpture and his painting of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museum. The Leaning Tower of Pisa. Pictures and stories from their elementary textbooks were brought to life.

In addition to the sights and sounds of Italy, I saw real WORLD learning occur as a result of spending several days with a select group of people. I watched the dynamics of the group unfold during the multiple day study abroad experience. Students who may not have known each other prior to the trip bonded together based on common interests. Values like trust, care, and concern for others developed when faced with the challenges of a new country, new city, new language, and new culture. Friendships evolved and changed. Experiences were shared. Memories were made.

Real-world learning happens every day – in a variety of locations and with people we perhaps never anticipated meeting. Students interacted with their global neighbors, immersed themselves in the culture over food and conversation, and enhanced their understanding of different worldviews through this experience.