Classrooms aren’t the only place to learn
As a child, I didn’t operate from a place of strength. I felt stupid all the time in school and I just didn’t fit in the classroom setting as I got older, even though I stayed with it to get through Grade 12.
By Kari Fulmek
It took me years to discover that there were lots of people out in the world like myself who learned better outside of a traditional classroom setting.
As bored and disengaged as I felt in school, that all changed when I attended a Christian summer camp. Learning hands-on in a natural setting ignited me and brought my world into focus.
It became a pattern that would follow me through life, and as a certified instructor now in equine assisted learning and founder of an international firm that empowers people in an informal learning environment, it would likely amaze my primary school teachers to see how I had prospered in business.
When your passion and curiosity meet, your learning curve skyrockets. You can learn basic facts and theories in other settings if you apply yourself, but nothing matches the sheer joy of learning when what you want to know matches what is being taught.
At Equine Connection, although we teach a consistent program, because horses are our teachers they can modify learning experiences naturally to fit their students. Having choice and flexibility as components of our informal classroom magnifies our reach to attract both traditional and informal learners, and we have a significant impact on both.
In our informal learning environment, the participants warm to the autonomy of learning on their terms. They take in knowledge not just from their human instructor but also from their horse instructor, from their fellow participants, and from the natural, casual environment so different from the places they normally work.
I believe that this type of experiential learning is helpful to aid our students in accepting patterns of life skills and accepting what they will believe and practice as empowerment tools as they leave.
Boredom and disengagement that are easily done in a classroom setting become impossible when you are in an arena with a 1,200 pound, four-legged teacher who is watching you keenly and picking up your every spoken and unspoken signal.
It is difficult to motivate people to learn unless they want to. But when it is just student and horse, the idea of being able to hide and detach from what is going on in the learning process becomes impossible.
Learning is really all about attitude, and when for whatever reason you understand you have to stay awake and be focused on a learning situation around you, your responses are magnified.
Just as you learn from horses in equine assisted learning programs, you also learn in life as well as the classroom.
It is a wonderful accomplishment to end each day with some knowledge you did not have when it started.
The value of finding the way that you learn best and continuing to learn at every age of life is important and gratifying.
Ask yourself today how you learn best, and when you have identified the means, go and pick up some new skills.
Kari Fulmek is the author of “Two Weeks to Empowerment” and the founder and owner of Equine Connection, The Academy of Equine Assisted Learning. She is a master instructor and senior facilitator in an International Horse Facilitator Certification Course that includes business training, the only program of its type in the world. From her base near Calgary, AB in the foothills of Canada’s Rocky Mountains, she travels the globe to empower clients. To learn more about Kari, visit her website at: https://www.equineconnection.ca.
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