Student Experiential Learning in a Day Camp Setting

SFU Phono Team

Grant program: Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG)

Grant recipient: Ashley Farris-Trimble, Department of Linguistics

Project team: Claire Moore-Cantwell, Department of Linguistics, and Danica Reid, research assistant

Timeframe: February 2018 to April 2019

Funding: $5880

Final report: View Ashley Farris-Trimble's final report (PDF)

Description: Our primary research question is how does hands-on research experience enhance student learning beyond classroom instruction? We plan to test this in the setting of small one-day camps for elementary school children (Little Linguists), organized and staffed by SFU students. This research aims to explore and identify student learning outcomes during these camps.

Questions addressed:

  • What do students hope or expect to learn prior to the day camp?
  • Do students apply theoretical linguistic concepts as they work with children during the camps?
  • What do students perceive that they have learned after the day camp?
  • Which aspects of the camp seemed to have the most promise for fostering student learning?
  • How do changes made to the day camp design based on what is learned from previous offerings change what students learn?

Knowledge sharing: The practice of student experiential learning in a day camp setting could easily be extended to other departments across the university. Day camps provide opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience, to frame theoretical concepts for a different audience (children), and to engage with the local community. We hope to share our findings with other departments and units at a Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) teaching event, and we will present our findings at the linguistics department poster session in the spring of 2019.

Farris-Trimble, A. & Reid, D. (2018, January). Little linguists: Teaching elementary schoolers to be language scientists. Presentation at the 91st Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Salt Lake City, UT.

Keywords: experiential learning, day camps, children, language acquisition, out-of-classroom experiences