The Power of Experiences: a Perspective of Learning
by Rafael Mendoza
Learning is best when it occurs in context. Learning is memorable and impactful when the experiences in which we live allow us to see parts of ourselves we do not often appreciate.
I have a deep fondness for experiences in which students have to make use of every resource that is contained in their bodies, spirits, and capacities. Thus, whenever there is a chance for students to be a part of unusual learning scenarios, I will always encourage them to do so.
Model United Nations conferences have that power. They allow students to work with individuals of similar age, who may or may not share the same perspectives about the world, while also allowing them to explore the application of thinking and social skills through interaction and relationship building exercises. Model United Nations uses our world as a “playground, as a lab, and as a cooking table.” Students’ curiosity, questions, efforts, and risks, become the ingredients that flavor the experience and the outcome.
In order to genuinely take action, one must connect deeply with others and with one’s context, and this is something that must extend beyond the four walls of a classroom. Therefore, we as educators must strive to look for opportunities in which students use everything within them to explore “good ideas,” and to dig deep within their toolbox (physical and intellectual) to make something significant happen.
Our first MMUN delegation is currently in Rome, and I have enjoyed seeing the transformation they’ve undergone, as they find themselves listening and speaking to people with different perspectives. In celebrating our students, we are fortunate to witness their potential, as they become better versions of themselves- a version they are proud to show.