HIL: Learning Outside the Classroom

University of Southampton Business School student James Brooker discusses his learning experience in Ypres, Belgium.
University of Southampton Business School student James Brooker discusses his learning experience in Ypres, Belgium.

This is the first instalment in a new series entitled ‘How I Learn’, which will focus on how the different ways people learn.

When I was aged 14 I was involved in a school trip to Ypres, Belgium. This is my significant learning experience. Ypres has become a focal point for remembrance of those who lost their lives fighting in the First World War. The stand out experience of the day for me undoubtedly was a visit to a centre where trenches had been preserved. I was very fortunate in that I got the chance to wander through the trenches with my class alongside a guide who worked for the centre.

Learning this way was by far more relatable than what I had previously experienced in the classroom. It gave me an appreciation of trench life that I wasn’t able to comprehend before the visit. I remember walking down one narrow trench not much wider than myself when we were told that two soldiers would sleep side by side right where we stood in the mud. To us all that was one of the most shocking aspects of trench life. As young teenagers, faced with a maze of trenches and tunnels, we naturally dispersed to explore after our tour had finished. This contributed to the learning experience as I could imagine being in the trenches living, fighting and ultimately realising the fear. Looking from the trench across the fields in front of us imagining staring the onrushing enemy in the face. This began to give me an insight to what it would have been like as well as being invaluable to my studies later on and it’s a feeling I still remember.

Throughout this learning experience I discovered that I can learn effectively using a diverse range of methods, simply being there was one of them. Also this variety can develop an interest in the subject which previously was not too strong.

 

James Brooker studies BSc Business Management (with placement) at Southampton Business School. The views in this article are those of the author.

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