Popular and political support for the benefits of outdoor education has been growing over the years both in the UK as well as internationally. Therefore it is important now more than ever for those entering the profession to be research-informed and aware, as well as practically equipped to make the most of benefits of teaching and learning outside the classroom.
What is learning outside the classroom?
Albert Einstein once famously said “I never teach my pupils, I only provide the conditions in which they can learn.” In becoming teachers, it is important to understand that learning is an active process and sometimes the best and most memorable learning experiences take place outside the walls of the classroom. But what is learning outside the classroom? As Elaine Skates, Chief Executive of Council for Learning Outside the Classroom states in the Foreword of the new edition of Children Learning Outside the Classroom – it is “best not seen as a subject in its own right, but as a tool for teaching and learning.”
How can teachers make time for learning outside the classroom?
Teachers often say that with a hectic schedule and a demanding curriculum it is often challenging to think about learning outside the classroom. By viewing it as a teaching tool as Elaine suggests and incorporating it in to teaching the curriculum subjects this challenge can be overcome. Part III of Sue Waite's Children Learning Outside the Classroom covers the curriculum subjects looking at why and how LOtC can be used to benefit teaching and learning.
How can you encourage trainee teachers to engage more with this topic?
Whether it is when setting coursework or planning school placements, encourage trainees to engage more with how and why learning outside the classroom might be beneficial and for what. The recommended videos in the companion website of Children Learning Outside the Classroom, 2e are a great starting point to engage students on this topic.
For example this short film on the Natural Connections Demonstration Project shows how both teachers and pupils appreciated the opportunities that moving lessons outside has represented and how it helped transform school cultures and teaching approaches.
For more videos like this check out the companion website of Children and Learning Outside the Classroom