The wrong kind of experiential learning

fist-438981_960_720I was going to give you a quick write-up of my EU game, which I ran last week.* However, as news comes in of the explosions in Brussels, I’m taking a very different topic.

About four days ago, I was going through Maalbeek metro station, with my students and my colleagues and their students: about 30-35 of us in all, to go and listen to a talk in one of the Commission units.

It’s not a particularly remarkable station, just a normal place. I certainly didn’t reflect on it at all, expect insofar as I didn’t want our group to get split up as we heading for the exit.

This morning, I am certainly thinking about it, after an explosion there this morning, scenes of chaos filtering through my timeline.

The irony of it is that last week, Brussels was alive with counter-terrorism operations, for almost exactly the period I was there with my students. We saw plenty of police and troops, but it didn’t connect in the way that today’s events have done. Indeed, I seem to remember joking that it was actually a safer time to be there, because no one would try anything at a time of heightened security.

Right now, the only real processing I can do of it all is to think about how experiential learning is that much more powerful than passive transmission. My concern for friends and colleagues in Brussels is all the more stark for having been there such a short time ago and for having interacted with the space they occupy.

I hope that none of us have to undergo such experiences again.


    • short version: it worked, but having lots of East Europeans play it meant it gave it a different spin to that intended.