When you were in school, could you imagine that some lessons would be taught outside? You could do sports and exercise outdoors, but learning Literature, History, and other disciplines used to be held strictly indoors.
With a global shift towards interactive and inclusive studying, the role of the classroom (read: limited space) has received due attention from scientists.
Now, it is proven that learning outside does not only serve for fun. In fact, it helps them concentrate better when they go back to the classroom.
For example, if students are taught Biology both indoors and outdoors, they are more engaged in the process. While outside, they can observe nature in action while studying photosynthesis and many other processes.
Of course, there are some details in every discipline that should be delivered to students in the classroom. For example, it is more logical complete English dictation tests or resolve algebraic equations indoors.
However, such classes as Biology, Physics, and Chemistry could definitely be held outside. Thus, the middle ground is to balance indoor and outdoor education for secondary and high school students to maximize learning outcomes.
If you are still hesitant about your child studying outside the classroom, here are several facts about outdoor education gathered by Melissa Hill, a private tutor from EssayPro.com. As a certified scholar with 9+ years of teaching experience, she was eager to share her experience with outdoor teaching below.
Starving for Nature
Humans need fresh air and nature to renew our powers and inspire yourselves. The same refers to nature-based learning. Even though learners still need to study and discuss, the very fact that they do it in nature helps them function better.
Students become happier if they are not limited by the classroom. After such a lesson occurs, a carryover effect takes place that accumulates the attention and fosters students’ motivation.
As it was previously mentioned, a balanced curriculum planning where outdoor education is subsequently changed with indoor classes makes students more concentrated.
Those lessons that require complex cognitive skills and attention should be left for indoor learning. Social studies, language arts, physical activity, and other general lessons can be nature-based.
It does not mean that the lesson should take a form of anarchy with no discipline and order. The principles of education remain the same. However, this makes an atmosphere less formal.
There is no surprise that students can be present in the classroom but absolutely absent with regard to the lesson. Their engagement more often defines learning outcomes way more than attendance.
It was recently proved that outdoor education increases student engagement, along with fueling their attention and interest.
Secondary and high school students still see outdoor education as something new. Such classes boost their interest in the material taught.
Moreover, as a part of the lesson, they are often invited to observe different processes in nature. This positively affects their critical thinking skills and cognitive abilities.
Nature-based learning is not only about fresh air and nice-looking landscapes. It is also about motivation.
Any student can admit that outdoor education is more enjoyable. They await such lessons more compared to the traditional classroom-based ones.
It means that learning outside fuels students’ intrinsic motivation, driving them to learn more through unusual learning practices.
Many learners can relate – indoor education and dull classrooms may bring a feeling of anxiety. Such experiences as failures to give an answer or bad grades could create a subconscious stress trigger. If the lessons are held outdoors or if the classroom and nature-based lessons are mixed, the negative impact of such memories fades.
As a result, students become more aware and stress-resistant. This positively affects their academic achievements.
Nature-based learning also helps students understand the value of the environment. They learn what actions could have adverse effects on the nature surrounding them.
This way, learners become more aware of the practices that can save the environment.
The earlier kids start learning outdoors, the better. Such education produces changes in their attitude and behavior as they become eco-conscious.
Weirdly, many students hesitate about speaking out their minds in the classroom but are pretty talkative when they are in nature. Some of them are afraid of the formality of traditional education. It makes them hesitant about engaging in the conversation. However, when it comes to nature-based lessons, learners feel less pressure and express their ideas.
It is necessary that students learned communication skills so that they could express their ideas and opinions at university or at work. If outdoor education helps them do it, it should definitely be implemented in a school curriculum.
Outdoor education also makes students more aware of other people who surround them. A traditional classroom creates a limited space where students see their teacher and classmates.
Outdoor education lifts boundaries and lets students think more globally. They can see other learners having their lessons, academic staff hurrying to work, and common people doing their jobs. This creates a feeling of belonging to a larger community.
Such a perception positively affects students who are willing to make a difference. They count the perspectives of others and learn to function in the community better than they do if they are indoors.
Last but not least is the positive effect of nature-based learning on students’ memory. Memorizing things in traditional classrooms is more difficult than in nature.
When we get information, we tend to bind it to emotions or unusual experiences for it to be better remembered. Nature-based learning can provide a myriad of such experiences and associations.
Outdoor education is a relatively new approach to education. It has already been introduced in higher education institutions in the US and Canada. Researchers report its positive effects on the overall student academic achievement.
Apart from stimulating student engagement, motivation, attention, and memory, outdoor education also benefits health. Students become more aware of the surrounding world, including other people and the environment. They learn to communicate and express their ideas better. Once they return to the classroom, they demonstrate better results.
Outdoor education may need more profound research on its best combination with indoor learning. Still, as of now, its positive effects on secondary and high school students are irrefutable.