Unconventional Learning

I was reading in the local paper today that Westminster Primary School teacher, Brooke Topelberg, was last nigt awarded the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools. She was awarded at a ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra.

The judges praised her for using unconventional methods to teach students including the use of puppets and garden patches. Well done Brooke.

I’m wondering what unconventional ways have you learnt something. I remember back in 2000 having a bicycle accident on a ride across Australia. I learnt, by rubbing my face along the edge of the road at high speed after coming off my bike, that the signs that said, “Beware – Soft Edges” weren’t necessarily truthful. They weren’t soft at all.

Have you learnt something the hard way or just in an unconventional way? Sitting in a classroom may be necessary but we often learn in very different ways. Can you remember a teacher who did things a little differently? Did that help you learn?

What unconventional ways have you learnt something important?

Please leave a comment or two about your own learning experiences.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • Outch for your bike-experience!

    No idea if this is really unconventional… my French-Teacher regularly “surprised” us with spontaneous tests – and often with vocabulary learned long ago, grammar-excercises you didn´t do in quite a while.

    It was a pain. But… after over 20 years of not speaking French… I probably could make my way (more bad than good), if I had to.

    My English-Teacher was from Great Britain. He refused to speak German in class (7th grade+, we start learning English in grade 5). He never teased anybody or correct articulation (like the German teachers always did) and he set fun-books on the list like “surprising stories”. Guess he managed to make learning fun for many kids. In language laboratory he didn´t use boring text-passages like he should have, but rock-songs.

    • I can imagine that no one appreciated surprise tests when you were in school but it makes sense. So often we only study what we think we need for the next test and forget everything that we previously learned.

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