Education is significant and must be acquired by all in order to gain knowledge and learn skills. It is the only key that can develop a whole generation of responsible human beings who can absorb good teachings and can impart it to many others. It teaches us about various things and opens up a vast variety of career options in front of us which one cannot opt for if left uneducated. Education can be imparted in a theoretical way or in a practical manner. But out of these two which is more benefiting for the student and what should we value more. Theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge are like two sides of money, both of which are equally important. It takes hours to master the art of effective techniques, to take time to understand how these processes fit into the larger context and how they work. Knowledge of theory means learning anything without using an effective method. It helps you understand why one process is successful while the other fails. Theory teaches you the knowledge of others. Theoretical knowledge can give you a deeper understanding of the concept by seeing it in the context of understanding why it is behind it. Practical education is better because it enables you to know enough about how things work in the real world. The best part of practical work is anything we learn in a practical way that knowledge will stay with us for a long time. In practical application, we learn the facts in a fun way which is the best part of learning. If you enjoy your study then you will never get tired or feel nervous about it. Today our education system needs a tangible approach and therefore, they place the emphasis on ‘hands-on learning’ experiences. Useful information provides excellent reading exposure. Practical knowledge is far broader; there are some things we can only learn by doing and experiencing.
1. It does not require mugging up
Some people have an innate talent of remembering everything that read, even if they have read it once. But others have to cram it very hard in order to retain it. And theoretical knowledge can involve lots of mugging up. If you don’t want your child to become a bookworm, always lost in a pile of books, then practical education must be supplemented with theoretical teaching. When we are practically looking at things and experiencing it, we do not need to cram it from a book. Not mugging up takes off loads of pressure form a student’s brain thus helping in the learning process and also for relieving stress from over their heads.
2. Knowledge retains in our mind
When we are cramming a lesson for a test, our brain tends to remember it for a short while, which can be shorter than the duration of your test thus not serving that purpose also because our brain forgets it easily. You try too hard to learn a theorem or an explanation word to word by heart but always forget upon something. While doing it practically, it can be in form of experiments, real life projects or educational trips, the knowledge and the whole learning experience stays in our mind for long.
3. Develops a better Understanding
Could you have ever understood the reflection of light had you not seen a mirror? Just by reading about a phenomenon or a lesson, it cannot get straight to your mind even though it may be explained in the best manner. You actually got to see it happening in front of your eyes and not by hearing it in somebody else’s words. Practical knowledge can help a lot over here because it is all there. Be it understanding the phenomenon of physics or dwelling in literature. According to author the song of a nightingale is magnificent but how would you know that unless you listen to it with your own ears?
Practical education is better because it enables you to know enough about how things work in the real world.
4. Includes practice
Reading a lesson over and over again can be of little help. But performing activities or experiments based on it involves practice and you have heard it right, “Practice makes a man perfect”. Go on reading a guide book for a new language without speaking that language at all and you will see no progress. But start using that language and try conversing with other people and you’ll see the change. You will see improvement. So just sitting in a corner with a book or listening to a lecture has no practice involved unless the theoretical teaching is converted into practical activities.
5. Improves skills
Training and exercise are meant to improve your skills which cannot be obtained by just theoretical knowledge. Theory can provide one with oodles of expertise and proficiency but it can never deliver those kinds of results and improved skills that you can get from practical education. Again, reading a chapter of engineering won’t help but doing experiments will surely do and will improve your engineering skills.
6. Involves application and deals with real life situations
Learning about facts and theories are not really of any use unless you are aware of their application in real life situation. I spent whole of my middle school wondering that what purpose it solves by knowing Sine theta square plus cosine theta square equals one. But when introduced to its applications I realized what importance trigonometry holds in architecture and its related fields. So unless you are applying your theoretical knowledge to real life situations through practical experiments theory doesn’t hold much good and you will keep wondering that why you are studying that particular topic.
7. It is more interesting
Field trips, projects, experiments, don’t they interest you more than books, assignments and lectures? Am sure they do because they are so much more interesting and engrossing than reading your regular bookish material.
8. Interesting => Easy
Obviously, when you find something interesting and have got your heart in it does seem easy. And especially when learning through practical sources instead of conventional theoretical ones, the leaning process does become comparatively easier. So why not put more stress on practical means? Also while you are doing something practically, it reaches your brain more effectively making it easier to understand, apply and remember.
9. Can motivate team work
While imparting practical knowledge to students, most of the activities involve team projects or programs where students are required to work in a group or as a team. For one, it improves a student’s ability to interact with his/her fellow students and encourage them all for team work. For another, it also makes the learning process more fun as students are able to grasp more while learning it in a group. They tend to have fun in each other’s company and the whole teaching process becomes less boring and more fun. And you learn more while having fun.
10. Interactive Education creates a Deeper Impact
Practical education is way more interactive than theoretical. It does not involve just teaching and lecturing irrespective of whether the student is able to understand the concepts or not. Theoretical education usually employs teachers who teach in a plain manner or books which may or may not include interactive exercises. Whereas in practical works, inputs from students are not just invited but are also necessary. Interactive sessions, experiments, interactive exercises, are important features of practical education which ensure the involvement of students, making them learn and understand more. And learning is the fundamental purpose of education, so in order to improve the leaning level, more importance should be given to practical education rather than theory.
So, in nutshell why are practical’s more productive than written assignments?
• When students do something with their hands they remember better.
• Active work encourages learning that takes place between students.
• The activity encourages students to read for themselves in class.
• Exercise leads to perfection.
• One cannot be a scholar overnight; the practice is great, the technology is great.
• Real work is a nice change from a boring speech to a talk.
• Students need to participate in visual activities.
• Student involvement is high in practical work.
• Active work complements the idea.
• Active assignments are usually done in groups. Teamwork helps to focus on social values and values such as participation, collaboration, team spirit, empathy etc.
• The work done makes students independent and increases their confidence.
(The author is a teacher at Govt. High School Brakpora Anantnag. Views are his own)