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September 23

Gail Brown

Taking your class outdoors = Good for teachers, too!

  • Mon 7th Jan 2013
  • Gail

I thought with the holidays coming, and the start of Spring here, that a short post about being outdoors might be good - I also thought this spectacular outdoor image would start your thinking about holidays sooner!

There’s a recent, small scale study that’s supporting benefits to primary teachers’ job satisfaction from just one hour each week of teaching out in the natural environment. Emily Marchant and her colleagues not only confirmed the benefits of “outdoor learning” for students – their findings supported teacher benefits too.

If you have time, their article is open access on the link below.

The teacher benefits extended to both classroom teachers and head teachers in the United Kingdom, with children aged between 9 and 11 years, so Grades 4-6.

The paper described the children’s feelings as being more positive, more creative and more engaged when outside the classroom.

Teachers did have some resistance to taking their classroom instruction outside. The researchers embedded the classroom instructional programs into outdoor settings, and this supported the changes.

In the context of overwhelming pressure on teachers, if their wellbeing and job satisfaction can be increased in any way – that’s a positive. In support of these changes and their benefits, the schools have continued with these one hour per week outdoors activities beyond the study. While this was only a small study, with 3 head teachers and 11 classroom teachers, it may be worthwhile checking it out?

Hoping you enjoy a well-earned holiday break, at least in New South Wales, and before you know it – Term 4 and Christmas will be here!

Reference to study: Emily Marchant, Charlotte Todd, Roxanne Cooksey, Samuel Dredge, Hope Jones, David Reynolds, Gareth Stratton, Russell Dwyer, Ronan Lyons, Sinead Brophy. Curriculum-based outdoor learning for children aged 9-11: A qualitative analysis of pupils’ and teachers’ views. PLOS ONE, 2019; 14 (5): e0212242 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0212242

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