Outdoor Teaching Can Bring Curiosity to Education in Tough Times

Outdoor Teaching Can Bring Curiosity to Education in Tough Times

Outdoor Teaching Can Bring Curiosity to Education in Tough Times

Five years ago, when I was standing in my journalism writing class, full of undergrad students, during peak summertime, I instantly felt the need to let my students go out. I wanted to free their minds from the indoor classroom setting that might have been serving as a hindrance in their thoughts and to the process of articulating an essay.

I asked the girls to stand in the corridor and write about what they see outside the balcony. It was a marine view with some buildings, houses, and green spaces. In their own words, they sketched the scene using beautiful descriptions. Every write-up was different as it was based on their perspective and observation and most importantly a product of the free mind.

Some noticed birds of different colors; others noticed the sidewalks and beggars sitting under the scorching sun, some wrote about the sky and the sea color. The challenge that time was the hot weather, and as a teacher, I found a way to free my students and let them explore and breathe outside when it was unbearable to sit in the classroom.

But that was 2015. The challenges posed to teachers in 2020 are far grave than what we faced back then. But with the dangers and uncertainties that have come with the Coronavirus, many health experts believe that outdoor learning is a much safer way to hold school. The reason being the possibility of airborne transmission inside the classrooms.

Allow outdoors as an alternative way of teaching

Now the question arises, what is the support that the teachers get in trying new methods and experiencing new things with their students? The academic experts suggest that doable alternatives of teaching should be allowed for teaching, especially when the pandemic has turned the world of academia upside down. Teachers and heads of the schools must research and rethink what outdoor learning is and benefit from it.

Experts say that outdoor learning can be done for the entire syllabus, and it does not require access to fancy places or parks or lush green forests.

There is always something interesting outside 

Another aspect of introducing outdoor learning in the teaching method during COVID or no COVID is the student’s interest in the class. One of the teachers from the UK shared her outdoor teaching experience as, 

“I always feel that a kid is going to come to school with more interest and dedication when he/she knows that their writing teacher is going to show them something new outside and ask them to write about it.”

Learning around nature

According to the research published in Frontiers in Psychology, “nature-based instruction outperforms traditional instruction.” The research talks about how outdoor learning around nature improves attention levels, balances stress, discipline, learning enjoyment, motor and physical skills, and student fitness.

While most of the global issues we face today such as environmental pollution, social and economic crises, researchers say that these are the outcomes of how humans have mistreated land. The researchers believe that the teachers can reverse this damage by bringing them close to nature and its value.

Best of luck with your next outdoor class!

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