The importance of non-formal education
| Eka Sepiashvili - 16 Nov 2023

Non-formal education is a complementary education to formal education. It develops the child’s critical thinking and has a broader concept of learning focusing on practical knowledge.

Formal education is most prevalent in society, but there are alternatives to formal education. Non-formal education is a structured, organized educational activity that is carried outside the usual framework of schools. It encompasses various learning methods through recreational tools to multiple sub-groups in the population.

Non-formal education may or may not be carried inside the educational institutions, and it has no age restrictions. It may cater to various learning programs like adult literacy, fundamental education for non-school-going children, life skills or culture, and diversity. It promotes the need for education for all, generating national income and more adaptable employment opportunities. It also assists in the transfer of proper educational equipment to more need-based areas. Non-formal education develops a wide range of learning and productive skills with substantial gains.

What is the best example of non-formal education?

Non-formal learning typically occurs in community settings: swimming classes for small children, sports clubs of various kinds for all ages, reading groups, debating societies, amateur choirs and orchestras, and so on.

Today's children are keenly interested in digital devices and attach strong meanings to them. The school has an important role in the socialization of the individual. Therefore, the purpose of education is to develop the talents and capacities of individuals according to the needs of society, to prepare them for the environment in which they live, and thus to ensure the development and protection of the community. As such, there is a need for learning environments in which the contents of the courses provide the basis for children to socialize in society through personal experience. “Drama can be defined as the enactment of an event, memory, concept, subject and thought by using theatrical techniques such as role-playing and improvisation in the workshop environment by leaders and participants”.

The drama method can be successfully used in learning environments because it is a method that enables cognitive, affective, and dynamic gains to occur, and allows children to learn by living, discussing, and expressing themselves freely. One of the best ways to teach a subject is by presenting a drama with real-life examples in the classroom. Drama has four uses: creative drama, educational drama, psychodrama, and social drama.). In music education, educational drama has been used the most frequently. However, the type of drama that is necessary for the teaching of any phenomenon, concept, or subject is educational drama. The present study focuses on the learning-teaching process of educational drama in music education.

Accordingly, educational drama is defined as follows: “A verbal and non-verbal, spontaneous, simulated enactment of an action, event, emotion, roles, concepts, themes or stories, living or inanimate beings, and even poetry”. Regarding the use of drama in education, Wagner said: “Role play is improvised. There is no need for text or memorization when presenting the drama performance. The key point is the deliberate use of drama to teach a particular subject.” Regarding the effectiveness of using drama in various disciplines, he further underscores that it is particularly effective for students to reenact historical events (Wagner, 1976; Wagner, 1998). The use of drama and other arts in learning environments also closely ties in with the theory of multiple intelligences proposed by Gardner. Visual arts, music, dance, drama, and such forms of intelligence emerged not only to enable many students to communicate and express themselves but also as effective tools to learn any subject. Although it is a common method, studies on the use of drama in music education are limited.

 To teach music to children today, when the events are unfolding faster and time is flowing faster, it is important to know the characteristics of those children and act accordingly. Having been accustomed to skipping episodes in the computer games they play, and being very familiar with continuous movement and progress, for the learners today the drama method is much more desirable in their music classes because it allows them to feel the constantly dynamic progress as if they move on the next level in a game. This requires music teachers to be prepared for this. In other words, the music teacher should know what to do (structure it) and act accordingly.

General benefits of art and craft activities

Research into child development shows that children benefit in several ways from doing arts and crafts. Below are some of the main ones:

  • Bilateral coordination – Kids need to develop the ability to use both sides of their bodies to coordinate movements in an organized and controlled manner.
  • Fine motor coordination – Kids need to be able to use the small muscles of their body, especially their hands, to perform more delicate tasks. Using scissors, gripping crayons to color, staying within the lines, and holding a piece of paper to glue in place are tasks requiring fine motor skills.
  • Self-regulation – Kids need to develop the ability to manage their emotions and behavior when faced with a difficult task. While doing crafts, they will have to be able to wait their turn, cope with things not going how they wanted, be willing to share, and resist impulsive behavior.
  • Social skills – While doing arts and crafts, kids will usually need to work with others, even if it’s only you they’re working with. They develop the skills they need to treat others with respect and kindness. They might need to share materials, comment on each others’ work, help with activities, wait their turn patiently, etc.
  • Creativity and imagination – Doing arts and crafts gives children the space to use their creativity and express themselves. This may simply manifest itself in their choice of color or where they choose to stick an object. We’re not talking about the ability to create a masterpiece!
  • Motivation – Most kids enjoy doing arts and crafts and it’s often the part of the lesson they most look forward to. Being engaged in doing something they enjoy creates favorable conditions for language acquisition
  • I am Eka Sepiashvili, a mentor English teacher from Georgia. This is my second time sharing my experience with you through your newspaper. I am glad I am making a small contribution to the motivated teachers working together in the international educational space. Based on my pedagogical practice, I can confidently say that it is a great pleasure for me to work with students, I have special approaches in my relationship with them, and as a result, I get high academic achievements both in school assessments and national exams, My students participate in numerous regional and international competitions and are actively involved in projects and activities in the direction of informal education. Today I would like to share with you activities promoting non-formal education that I have already implemented in my practice.

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