At BROWNS effective learning is seen to occur when the student can actively demonstrate their ability as per the course’s learning outcomes. To this end BROWNS is committed to not only educating learners within the classroom but also outside of the classroom as well. This means BROWNS students will learn by moving outside of the classroom either on BROWNS campuses or by engaging with the local community off campus. Examples of this include classes visiting other students to ask questions and answer surveys or class excursions to popular local sites such as City Hall or Surfers Paradise.
Experiential learning is a method of educating through first-hand experience. Skills, knowledge, and experience are acquired outside of the traditional academic classroom setting and may include field trips, field research, and service-learning projects. This can include interaction with native speakers, excursions to popular local sites, surveys and interaction with other BROWNS students in a casual setting. This learning process is then followed up with reflection back in the classroom to consolidate the language acquired.
In November, one of our Intensive General English Pre-Intermediate classes and our Intensive General English 30+ class went on an excursion to Coombabah National Park as part of our new Experiential Learning lessons. Here’s what some of the students had to say about their lesson.
Alessandro from Italy
Last Friday our teacher, Vanessa, organised a trip for us students to Coombabah National park. We went with another class and socialising with them was fun. It was a good way to meet new people. After lunch three big taxis came to pick us up, if I remember correctly, there were about twenty-five of us and about twenty to twenty-five minutes later, we were at Coombabah Wetlands. In this beautiful nature reserve you can spot many kangaroos that live in total freedom and we accidentally scared them off by taking a picture with them. Additionally, if you are lucky, you can also see the koalas which cling onto the highest branches of the trees. The koalas are very good at camouflage, so you have to look very carefully. I saw two koalas, but they were so high that I couldn’t take a great picture with my smartphone. Unfortunately, after one hour, we had to go back to school. I spent a beautiful afternoon with nice people of different nationalities and everyone was able to improve their English.
Hana from Japan
I went to Coombabah with my friends and teacher. I had a very nice time because we were able to enjoy the Australian nature directly. We went there by taxi in about 20 minutes.
Arriving at Coombabah, firstly, I could see wild kangaroos. There are a lot of wild kangaroos and fortunately, we were also able to see two wild koalas. It is said that seeing wild koalas is very difficult so I was very happy to see them.
If the weather is good when you go to Coombabah, the temperature will be high, so you have to bring sunglasses, water and a hat, and you should put on comfortable shoes because the sunlight in Australia is so strong. So you should put on sunscreen to protect your skin. It is better to wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants. Putting on a long sleeve shirt and long pants to protect your skin from not only the sunlight but also insects like mosquitoes. If you go there with short sleeve clothes, you should put on not only sunscreen, but also bug repellent. You can also take pictures of Australian animals and the beautiful nature, so don’t forget to take your camera. When I went there, I was able to take pictures of many kangaroos. I also took pictures with my friends. It was the last day in Australia for one of my friends, so going there has become a very good memory for us.
Timothe from Switzerland
Last Friday we went on an expedition with the school to see kangaroos and koalas. We took a taxi from the school to the park. After thirty minutes of the road, we arrived at our destination. There were ten or eleven of us from the same class and the others were from another class. As soon as we arrived we saw a kangaroo group. Everybody was trying to take some pictures with them but they were afraid of us and they ran away. Afterwards, we kept walking to try to see other animals. We all saw a lot of kangaroos during this afternoon and we took a lot of pictures. It was hot so many kangaroos were hiding in the shadows. I only saw one koala hanging onto a tree branch. To finish, we waited for the taxi to return us to home.
Marina from Japan
I went to Coombabah last Friday in the afternoon class. It was my first trip to Coombabah. I have always thought I wanted to go there because I wanted to see wild koalas and kangaroos, but I hadn’t been there yet.
The day was very hot. We went there by a big taxi, the teacher ordered three of them. It took about 15 minutes. If we had used a public bus, it would have taken about 30 minutes and we would have needed to also walk for 10 minutes. So the taxi was good transport.
In Coombabah, I saw many kangaroos. They were sitting under the shade of the trees. We took pictures. The wariness of the wild kangaroos was stronger than the kangaroos in zoos. When we went beside them, they ran away.
After watching the kangaroos, we walked down a forest path to find wild koalas. Finally, someone found a wild koala on the top of a tree! It was so cute! I took some pictures, but it was difficult, because the koala was sitting in a very high tree and it was obstructed by many branches and leaves. I saw two koalas, one was sleeping and the other was eating. They were so cute, but wild koalas are difficult to find and photograph. I am now thinking that before I go back to Japan, I want to have a photo of me holding a koala.
In Coombabah, there are a lot of wild animals, I saw many kind of birds and I had a good time.
Sae from Japan
I went to Coombabah where you can see some Australian animals. I thought we had to go there by bus but then I saw taxis outside the front of BROWNS and I was so glad. It was my first time to visit there so I was looking forward to seeing kangaroos and koalas. After taking a taxi for around 20 minutes, we arrived at Coombabah. It was a sunny day and so hot. I bring a hat to school every day however I forgot to bring it on that day. Sunglasses were only item I had which cut the sunlight.
At first we took pictures with everyone. After that we started to walk to find other animals. It wasn’t difficult at all to see kangaroos, but I couldn’t find any koalas by myself. My friends and teachers let me know when they found a koala. We tried to take pictures with the kangaroos, but when we came close, they ran away and that’s why it was difficult. In the case of the koalas, it was impossible to take pictures with them because they were up high in the trees. Moreover, even if I took their picture with my phone, it wasn’t clear, so I gave up and one of my friends who has a camera took pictures for us. We walked for around an hour. It was around 3pm when we went back to the entrance to take the taxi back.
Actually, I had made plans to go to Coombabah Saturday which was the next day, but I didn’t go because I had enjoyed it enough and was satisfied on Friday.
It was Mina’s last day in BROWNS, therefore I was glad we were able to make a good memory at Coombabah.