Is it Learning Outdoors or Outdoor Learning?

In these new challenging COVID times the Outdoor Learning Service teachers have changed the way we work and we now spend most of our time teaching curriculum topics outdoors in school grounds.  We’ve been promoting this as our Outdoor Teacher in Residence Programme.

This way of working allows us to teach pupils in a COVID ‘safer’  teaching space, and helps class teachers see that learning outdoors does not need to be as hard,  scary or unpleasant as they may think!

At the end of each teaching block we get the class teachers we’ve worked with for their feedback,  including; what’s worked well, what types of pupils have benefitted the most and whether the experience has encouraged them to get out more with their class.

The following response from a teacher in one of my recent schools I think says a lot …

Q.  Having participated in this block of outdoor teaching do you think you are now more or less likely to use the outdoors as a learning space (or just the same!).  Please give an explanation of why this is. *

A. I think I am more likely to use the outdoors as an outdoor classroom. Perhaps in the past I have felt I needed to be using the outdoors for outdoor learning rather than just using the space available as a learning space. These sessions have given me more confidence to do this.

Absolutely brilliant, and just what we are hoping this different way of working would achieve.  As outdoor educators I think we too often miss stressing the obvious because we’re so close to it.