On outdoor learning and not heading home at 2:30pm

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Regular readers will know that I think outdoor learning should be central to a school’s approach to education.  On Friday, as a stressful and emotion term ended (more on why later) myself and a band of teachers headed to the New Forest with 18 young people.  The aim of the adventure was Duke of Edinburgh Award training.  This post aims to highlight some of the reasons why providing such opportunities is important.  You can view the training over at Priory Geography’s Facebook page.

1. Improving staff and student relationships.

Whatever anyone else says, education is not about what happens inside a classroom.  As a geographer, I am lucky to be able to use other contexts to deliver the subject.  The photo above shows me being camouflaged, silly little things can build relationships with young people, making intervention and support within lessons more fruitful.

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2. Learning by doing.

This is some vegetarian sausage mix in the making.  As interesting and novel menu idea that wasn’t exactly with the grain.  Being cold, hungry, tired and emotional but still being able to produce outcomes is an incredible thing to see.  When was the last time that you heard a student saying that a classroom experience was their best memory of school?  Outdoor contexts also provide the opportunity to model good behaviour and how to cope with challenges.  It was cold after all!!

3. Staff development and cohesion

There’s nothing like teaching without (new) technology  and all the trappings of a modern(ish) classroom to focus the creative mind.  Outdoor bimbles also allow staff to bond.

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4. Using the school grounds

Staff at our school would have been forgiven for thinking that BSF was back on the cards this week as Year 10 students developed their beach profiling and groyne (as in the sea defence for non-geographers…) measurement skills in and around the quad.

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5. Because it’s a laugh

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2 Responses

  1. Nice blog post. Learning outdoors has many other benefits in terms of cognitive, physical and emotional development. children and young people tend to thrive outside.

    The saddest thing is that teachers who do not make the effort to take their classes outside on a frequent and regular basis are missing out too on the benefits it brings both in a personal and professional capacity.

  2. Thanks for the comment Juliet, I agree entirely. Just after the Easter vacation we'll be down on the Dorset coast with Year 10. They'll be collecting their high stakes GCSE data – if it's the first time doing it then that's no good!

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