Title Into the outdoor classrooms - adaption of new subject-related approaches in outdoor learning
Project Number LLP-LdV-ToI-2010/DK-1008
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
As European children spend a great deal of time in school, it is necessary that various teaching methods such as outdoor learning are developed in order to provide an education system that works for all. In this light, it is important to encourage both formal and non-formal learning professionals to cooperate and develop educational activities outside the classroom.
Non-formal environments offer opportunities for gaining expertise and developing educational approaches that are closely connected to academic subjects. It is a challenge for teachers to make non-formal educational activities fit into the curricula and also use them to supplement indoor lessons. To cope with this challenge, this project connects the two groups - non-formal and formal educators - so that they can cooperate and develop new insights as well as exchange knowledge, plans and goals.
Most of the outdoor practice in the primary and lower secondary school systems (PLSS) tends to focus on environmental, social and personal development aspects in the pupils general education and it is limited to school subjects related logically to the outdoor such as sports and wild life nature activities. Outdoor learning (ODL) is much more than that! ODL is also traditional academic learning activities such as subjects like math, science and language. Instead of the subjects being taught inside the classroom, they are taught in authentic settings outside: The classroom without walls. ODL means working with applied knowledge through practical experience. It makes the relevance of the subject clearer, which is a crucial aspect in a learning process.
People learn in different ways and the European school systems must reflect this reality by offering a wide range of innovative teaching approaches such as ODL. Despite its didactic potential, the approach is still only sporadically applied in European educational systems because of a lack of competencies among teachers and educators from the informal learning sector.
The aim of this project has been to qualify a dual target group: teachers in PLSS and educators (professional guides, rangers etc.) in the non-formal learning sector, by developing their skills and competences in order to integrate outdoor learning environments into the learning processes of children at primary and lower secondary level. Furthermore, the project aims at bringing the dual target group together by providing a common ground, knowledge and understanding of each other's professionalism in order to establish the best possible interaction and ensure qualified and innovative teaching in the schools.
The project has resulted in an intensive foundation course in outdoor learning didactics and methodology as well as a subject-related course module. The complete course package is downloadable from the project's website.
IN & OUT has addressed the following objectives:
- To systematically develop the skills and competencies in outdoor learning of teachers and educators in formal and non-formal learning sectors in order to integrate outdoor learning in the education activities in these sectors.
- To facilitate interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge and networking between the two sectors. Primary and lower secondary teachers possess strong academic and didactic skills and educators are skilled communicators and strong in action/practice-based learning. The two sectors can learn many things from each other and the project has aimed at supporting a synergy effect between the two sectors.
In order to fulfill the project objectives, the project has developed a further training course package, aimed at the above mentioned target groups. The further training course is interdisciplinary thus the dual target group will follow the course activities together.
Information and Communication
The course package consists of two parts:
1) A foundation course containing basic learning theories and methods.
2) A subject course emphasizing subject-related approaches to activities outside the classroom.