Path Method

Path method can be classified as part of the education of experience (pedagogy of experience). Erlebnispädagogik is a model for action-oriented education and, among others, aimed at solving social problems. That problem solving, learning based on independent investigation of truth not only allows you to gain knowledge, but also develops the student's personality and makes him responsible for the environment. The central point of education is not only goal-oriented, but the way of reaching that goal, which is knowledge and skills. This method is very rarely used in Poland, but is willingly utlized however in Germany - the country of its inception. Within the framework of the project entitled Teaching using the path method it was decided to transplant this very method - or rather, some of its elements. The aim of the method is to change the behavior of a group and consequently develop its competence - especially those regarding society such as communication, teamwork, problem analysis and attempt for self-solution of problems. Working methods used in this system is essentially comprised of play, game and experiment. Within the framework of the project Human rights in the local context - the method reference is made to track all of these elements. At the same time the playground was not a forest and the theme did not focus around nature. Nature and green space was replaced with the city. Although one of the basic conditions of pedagogy of experience was indeed fufilled - classes were held in the open air. Physical activity component was replaced by a walk and intellectual activity. However, the most important element of the project was to encourage the participants to set challenges  and encourage them towards subjective inquiry into knowledge. The role of the teacher has been reduced to help students in self-knowledge discovery. In addition, attempts were made to apply the four principles that Hahn laid out in 1930 by creating rules for school in Salem: students can independently acquire knowledge and get to know each other and define their views, they could engage in their successes and failures by performing individual tasks and practiced imagination, foresight and planning. The ability to plan and anticipate was so important that participants were proposed the  path method, inspired by the critical path method (Parham Critical Method, CPM).

Critical path method is a method used in the theory of project management and was developed in 1958. This method is used when the duration of each activity / task  is known and is based on a sequence of chronologically arranged tasks in such a way that each additional task cannot begin until a previous one has been completed. The following task starts after the previous. The duration of the path determines the duration of the project. If the time to complete a task changes, that in term changes the entire path. Within the framework of the project, one longer path can be carried out, or several shorter tracks that have the same duration.

The field of activities and science within the framework of the Human rights in the local context project – the path method was the city of Krakow. The selection of this particular city  for the purpose of the game was not accidental. The city enhanced the attractiveness of carried out activities as well as allowed for the highlighting the themes emphasized by the path method, as well as highlighting the cultural and historical portrayal of human rights issues. Based upon the example of the city - places remembered and forgotten, cultivated and avoided, interesting and overshadowed - could successfully demonstrate the process of cultural, social and political change. What is important is the fact that the city is treated as a space for experience and contemplation. Students participating in the project could experience the city kinesthetically. Walking has been treated as a form of experience and philosophizing about the man and his rights and at the same time the desire to experience, and thus - in the wake of the concepts of Anna Wieczorkiewicz - as participation, active involvement, and the said subject-cognitive relationship.

An important element of the path method is to treat science as a process involving the gradual, independent and active investigation into knowledge based not only on theoretical knowledge of the facts, but also on the ability to seek the facts and analyzing them, interpreting and devising their own reflections based on them. This method is based on a modern and active exploring of the city. Independent work and problem solving allows the participants to pass onto subsequent stations and thusly expanding further their knowledge. It is important to foremost solve predetermined tasks that then determine the acquisition of consecutive elements of knowledge. The path can be interrupted at any time - the interruption does not mean lack of knowledge, but it does however limit the acquisition of the complete knowledge and expertise initially planned by the teacher. The path teaches logical thinking. In this way, the student not only gains knowledge, but also practical skills.

The activating path method is a more effective teaching method than traditional methods preciously used. The undeniable advantage centers on the ability to combine theory with practice, knowledge with specific skills. Only this form of learning allows the student to effectively use their knowledge and develop their competencies. In addition, it stimulates the imagination, creative thinking, and an attitude of openness, decision-making. More importantly, this model can be used when working with people of different ages. You only need to adjust the level of difficulty of the tasks to the abilities of the participants.

Project Coordinators:

dr Kinga Anna Gajda
Katarzyna Suszkiewicz

Partial research results were presented at the following conference:

XII International Scientific Conference „ Education in the 21st Century" which held place in Zakopane on Oct 23-25th, 2014

The method was developed within the framework of a collaboration undertaken between Center "Karta" within a project entitled "Learn from History" (publication platform for educational projects carried out in schools and extracurricular education of young people on the history of Poland and its neighbors in the twentieth century, and human rights).

The 'Path method' was also used in the project Multicultural Tarnow. The students were guided on a Romani and Jewish path learning in Tarnow, learning about minority culture, but also the about Tarnow's history and multiculturalism.

 The 'Path method' was used in the following projects:

1. Human rights in the local context (Dr. Kinga Anna Gajda, Katarzyna Suszkiewicz)

2. Multicultural Tarnów (Dr. Kinga Anna Gajda, Ewelina Malik, Katarzyna Suszkiewicz)

The Path Method was also utilized in workshops:

  • in the Krakow's Youth Association of Friends of Science and Art
  • with students working within the framework of the Comenius project (from Poland, Turkey, Italy and Germany)
  • with students from the class of Intercultural Competence
  • with students from a Primary School in Ostojów
  • with students from Liceo Copernico from Udine (Italy).

The method was also consequently presented in the following article:

Kinga Anna Gajda, Katarzyna Suszkiewicz, Human Righst Teaching as Challenge for Education - Path Method

Fot. Libor Tesar pobrana z Flickr na licencji CC BY 2.0