Posting Date: October 27, 2008
A Different Way to Learn:
Arts learning community takes on the Challenge Corner
By Lauren Highfill
Instead of books, notes and lectures, this “classroom” uses swings, ropes, logs and even a hula hoop to educate students. At the Challenge Corner earlier this month, students from one of the visual arts learning communities within the College of the Arts worked together to overcome a variety of obstacles—like fitting more than 10 people in a hula hoop, locking arms to balance on a swaying log and communicating without speaking.
A learning community is designed around a theme, discipline or major and is composed of a group of 25 students who are enrolled in the same sections of two to four courses. The Challenge Corner was an activity the students participated in as part of their First-Year Seminar course, KSU 1101.
Using what’s referred to as experiential education, the Challenge Course is especially relevant to arts learning communities because “generally, arts students are very kinesthetic and visual and social learners,” said Assistant Professor Natasha Lovelace Habers, who has a joint appointment in the Department of Visual Arts and the Department of First-Year Programs. “This was a perfect opportunity for students with an array of learning styles.”
Brittany Breymeier, an arts learning community student, said the activity “was a great way to get outside and participate in challenging activities that you don't necessarily come across in the classroom. I enjoyed working with my classmates to overcome obstacles that we were faced with on the course while relating them to real-life experiences.”
Habers chose to take her class to the Challenge Corner after she completed the course over the summer. “I myself learned so much out there, I knew it would be a great experience for students as well,” she said. “This course provides so many learning outcomes, including community and trust building and developing problem-solving skills.”
One obstacle that another student found to be a fun learning opportunity involved a hula hoop. “We had to squeeze almost 14 people into a tiny hula hoop! It was fun to laugh together and get over shyness with each other,” said Caitlin McAuley. “It was definitely an activity that required everyone to work together as a team.”
One of Habers’ many goals for this activity was to show students that learning doesn’t have to be confined to a traditional classroom. That goal was met, as the students finished their time at the Challenge Corner, “they were asking, ‘When can we do it again?” said Habers. Habers’ other arts learning community is scheduled to experience the course in November.
To learn more about KSU’s learning communities, visit www.kennesaw.edu/fyp/ learning_communities.