Namita J. is a typical modern parent. Product of a CBSE school herself, she chose Heritage Xperiential Learning School (HXLS), formerly The Heritage School Gurgaon, for her son. The school promises holistic, child-centric, experiential education eventually culminating into CBSE board exams.
Now many parents would love how that sounds but with a lot of scepticism – An ‘Experiential’ CBSE school! Really?
CBSE as a board is known more for its rote focus than experiential learning. Experiential Learning on the other hand may generally be perceived as a shallow project based learning method that lacks academic rigour and does not yield superior examination results. So that begs the question –
Is Experiential CBSE really possible?
Let’s attempt to briefly understand the critique for conventional CBSE education. A CBSE curriculum to many is all about facing two public exams in grade 10 and 12 – both causing a great deal of stress. Since the key skill on test is the ability to memorise and reproduce, students are prepared and rehearsed to emulate this skill through their school years. While, this view may be a bit harsh, it does seem to be the case at many CBSE schools.
So how is Experiential CBSE different?
‘CBSE’ in itself is not a curriculum or pedagogy but merely conducts examinations at secondary and senior secondary level of the content prescribed by NCERT. CBSE does not lay down any prescription on how the content needs to be delivered.
The way a content is delivered i.e. the pedagogy makes all the difference in ‘Experiential CBSE’. In CBSE schools content has conventionally been delivered in a certain exam-centric way instilling fear of failure and puts students under pressure. With Experiential learning, the same content is delivered in an “hands-on” way to make sure that the student’s knowledge foundation is based on true and lasting understanding of the subjects’ concepts rather than it being just in the short term memory for examinations. Evaluation too plays a big role. The purpose of evaluation with experiential is not to put students on a common platform for ease of comparison or to measure them to conform to certain standards but to identify improvement areas to enhance permanence in learning. Experiential CBSE takes advantage of the flexibility available with the school in choosing delivery and assessment methods to not only achieve the predefined target subject knowledge outcomes but also to build relevant 21st Century skills.
Experiential CBSE Success Mantras – A leaf from Heritage Xperiential Learning School (HXLS) Gurgaon
- There is no substitute for learning than by ‘doing it yourself’. Inducing real hands-on and letting students experience it themselves at key junctures in the delivery of the curriculum builds lasting learning.
- Extraordinary focus on robust foundations and building critical thinking ability in students to logically find answers even for the unknown, rather than solely rely on memorisation.
- Use of a range of assessments for the student to continuously identify and work on areas to improve without instilling the fear of failure.
- Gradually blend in formal assessments to build tenacity in students towards ‘formal exams’.
- Students with strong subject foundations, critical thinking ability and tenacity develop excellent academic rigour and perform well in exams and in life rather than succumb to pressure.
Experiential CBSE = CBSE minus Fear of Failure plus Learning to Learn minus Pressure plus Rigour = Superior Exam Performance plus Life Long Learners
Is there proof?
As per facts shared by Heritage Xperiential Learning School - Experiential CBSE at HXLS is producing consistent results year on year with the school’s median average at 90%, placing it amongst the top schools in the country. For the last five years, it has been among the top performing schools in Gurgaon, with the highest mean average in Gurgaon and Haryana.
Meet Devyani Sarin – class 12 student of HXLS who topped the humanities stream with 99% and Khushi Goyal who topped the commerce stream in the district with 98.2 %. They are not alone, Lavannya Balakrishnan another student of HXLS Gurgaon, is the CBSE Class 12 all-India topper in the humanities stream in the children with special needs category with 97.8%. Now that is what experiential CBSE is all about!