FIU Experiential Learning Tool Discussion

Discussion 1: Experiential learning can be used by a school social worker in group work to accomplish goals for students. Art and Play Therapy is an effective school group for at risk adolescent girls (Perryman, et al., 2015). It can be incorporated in a middle or high school. Groups can be a weekly or monthly occurrence, and can occur during or after school. The objective of Art and Play Therapy is to give its members an outlet to express themselves through art. Talking about their emotions can be difficult at that age because 1) they don’t yet have the words to express complicated feelings, or 2) they are too embarrassed to speak frankly (Perryman et al., 2015). Art provides a transitory medium to express their emotions and fuel abstract thinking. Combining experiential learning and Art and Play Therapy can be beneficial for the students. Goals can include building coping skills, having an outlet for emotions, building social relationships, increasing expression of emotions, and thinking abstractly. The experiential cycle consists of concrete experiences, reviewing, concluding, and active experimentation (Kolb, 1974). The concrete portion of the experiential cycle would include creating their art piece. For reflection, after completing their pieces the students will have an opportunity to think about what they made, how they made it, and what it means to them. They can present their pieces to each other and think deeply about their process. After the reflection, they can learn from each other and draw conclusions about art creation and expression of emotions. Finally, they can apply their knowledge and experiment by making group art pieces where they incorporate each other’s talents and interests. This would complete the experiential learning cycle and allow them to build upon their interests. Kolb, D. A. (1974). Essentials of experiential learning. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle. Perryman, K. L., Moss, R., & Cochran, K. (2015). Child-centered expressive arts and play therapy: School groups for at-risk adolescent girls. International Journal of Play Therapy, 24(4), 205-220. Discussion 2: Experiential learning is important because it allows for events to be experienced and reflected on to see what difference was made in ourselves and the community. This type of learning is helpful with school aged individuals and would be used as a school social worker. Kolb (1974) discusses how the learning cycle is a process where students might have concrete experiences, review how those experiences affected them, concluding what they learned from the experience and then applying that knowledge to a scenario in the future. Students at a young age learn best through lessons, experiments and assignments that help them sort through any types of traumas they have experiences in their past. Some students deal with a variety of issues such as being in the foster care system, bullying, neglect at home etc. As a case manager who currently works with the schools and their therapist, I have learned more about how experiential learning can assist them in sorting through their daily life troubles and learn how to cope with their emotions. The group of students that will be worked with include those who have experienced traumatic experiences as mentioned above and who struggle expressing how those experiences continue to affect them. For example, a particular student in foster care will be used to address his anger and fear of going back home to his mother. The client has supervised visits on Fridays with his biological guardian but has been in and out of foster care for years. An experiment to work on with the children is a crisis action plan. This plan will allow the client to identify his stressors, behaviors and warning signs, things others can do to make him feel better, and coping strategies as a reminder for when he is struggling with his trauma or begins to become scared/angry. Reflective observation will allow hands on exploration and answer questions or make suggestions to the student to assist them in feeling out the plan (Kolb, 1984). A few goals for the client to learn from this experiment include 1) To become more comfortable with identifying his triggers and things that cause him to become upset, 2) To be able to understand how to better control his anger and sadness 3) To utilize his coping strategies discussed to deescalate from the situation. A few strengths of the assignment include the plan being a system already drawn out to make it easier for a child to talk about his feelings and he can take the plan home with him or to school to be reminded of how to calm himself. The activity could be improved by being more tailored to children and include the use of pictures to help keep their attention better and focus on the assignment. References: Kolb, D.A. (1974). Essentials of Experiential Learning. Kolb, D. A. (1984). Kolb’s Learning Cycle: Experiential Learning Model. American Emeritus Professor of Organizational Behavior.

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