Learning Outside the Classroom

Written by Siddhi Latey (Weloquent)

The tick tock of the passing hours in the confines of my home is constantly accompanied by my listless sighs. Not knowing what to do with all this time in my hands, I took to entertaining myself on my phone. Apart from helping out with the occasional grocery shopping, I am often a couch potato glued to the screen, watching movies and TV shows all day.  Hours mold into days and weeks into months without my noticing them. 

One evening, as I was engrossed in a cliff-hanger, my mother called me in the kitchen to assist her with some cooking and while helping her she asked, “what did you learn today?” I happily answered back saying that my school classes were not scheduled for the day, to which she asked “does learning end at school?” 

This question stuck with me like a chewing gum at the back of the shoe and I began to ponder over it. It did not take long before I realized that I am not making good use of the best years of my life. I went back to my mother and told her that I wanted to continue learning even while at home and so together, we created a time-table that would help me keep track of every passing day while finding time for everything: the productive as well as the fun!

The best gift you can give to your teachers, this Teacher’s Day, is to promise to continue learning, even outside the classroom. And to help you in that mission, I have prepared a list of things that could be replicated, so that the outbreak of the unprecedented pandemic does not become a hindrance to learning.               

Find Joy in Learning

Now is perhaps the best time to not only engage in your hobby but also discover new ones. 

Ever thought of learning chemistry while in the kitchen? If you assist your mother in the kitchen you will know just the right amount of NaCl (commonly known as salt) not only complements your food but is also essential to your body. Your kitchen is yearning to be explored from a newer perspective. Take your lesson about acids and bases to your fridge and pantries. Lemon is not only sour but is also highly acidic whereas cakes and biscuits are basic substances. Just the act of cooking itself is chemistry both between the ingredients as well as literally. 

While boiling points and the process of condensation could be learned while your mother prepares dinner, just by observing her and asking the right questions, you can even make your Geography lessons just as delicious. Explore different cuisines, and find out why a vegetable grows better in South America vs. here in India. 

Furthermore, you can practice your skills in Physics by upcycling, and creating something new from used and old devices. Similarly, gardening and composting is a great way to learn about Biology and painting can teach us about Art and Art History.

The possibilities to learn and grow are endless and everywhere so don’t waste a minute, and work towards waking up a more intelligent human being tomorrow morning! 

Monitor Internet Use

Since our parents work-from-home we are now left to our own devices. The key to mastering productivity is to exercise self-discipline while using the internet. It is easy to get distracted while studying or working. 

Closing off all extra tabs during Zoom school meets, or switching off the internet while typing our essays, and being our own teacher/invigilator will help us learn as much as we used to while we attended school physically. In addition to taking out time to study, we must also exercise regularly. YouTube has a plethora of tutorials with exercise routines as well as study material that can keep you healthy and wise while at home.                

Establish Emotional Connections

The aim of education is to primarily master two things – relationships and  work. While the “work” bit of our education might be compromised slightly, we can still work on improving the more emotional aspect of the same.

Today, the world is brought closer with the digital revolution and our friends and loved ones are just a phone call away. Since, the foundation of all relationships is communication, we must learn how to speak to one another and deliver productive messages effectively.

Reconnecting with family and friends we drifted away from, writing them letters instead of sending emoticons as text messages - will help us build a network of people we will be proud to call our own.  

Host Virtual Book and Movie Clubs

We are already used to consuming a lot of unnecessary content that we waste endless hours over. Instead, we could either catch up on some reading and watch critically acclaimed and thought-provoking movies that would expand our horizon. You can group up with your friends every week on call, and decide on a book or a movie to discuss for the following week. 

Instead of the usual rom-com drama, we can pick up a docu-film and open ourselves to new languages, perspectives, and cultures. Art has the ability to transport you into another world only through your mind and what better time than doing so when we feel physically imprisoned.