My cultural artifact is a statue of a Terracotta Warrior from the Qin Dynasty. Qin Shi Huang was the first Emperor of China. He was obsessed with immortality and when he died, he was in search of a potion to help him become immortal.
Learning from Immersion and History
I learned about the history of the Qin Dynasty, the warriors, and horses. By being on site, I was able to observe the warriors in person (as close as allowed), observe archeologists excavating, learn the history, learn the story of the discovery, and see one of the discoverers. It was not a reenactment, instead history unfolding right in front of me. Reflecting back on my experience in China, the trip to the see the Terracotta Warriors was most interesting.
The experience made me think about what Qin Shi Huang accomplished during his life. I questioned if he knew what he was doing and whether he was simply brilliant or a psycho. His obsession with immortality led him to do this extraordinary thing. In his efforts to protect himself in the after-life, he allow a view into the past by leaving for us replicas of warriors, horses, weapons, carriages, ancient technology, and materials.
- How are we leaving material items behind for those whose will come after us?
- How do we record our lives?
- How will our story/stories be told?
Teaching and Learning connection
In the Barr & Tagg (1995) article, the Learning Paradigm, learning occurs through many modes and inside as well as outside the classroom. The quote, “We now see that our mission is not instruction but rather that of producing learning with every student by whatever means work best”recapitulates its overall framework. The visit to the Terracotta Warriors provided just that. For me it was experiential learning.
David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory
“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience” (David A. Kolb, 1984)
A four-stage process
- concrete experience (or “DO”)
- reflective observation (or “OBSERVE”)
- abstract conceptualization (or “THINK”)
- active experimentation (or “PLAN”)