Five reasons for taking learning outdoors

Andy Swain

Andy Swain is the Managing Director of SAS Shelters based in Luton. As a family-run business for more than 50 years, SAS Shelters specialise in the design, manufacture and installation of a variety of products for schools including school canopies, shelters, walkways and playground shades as well as a range of fabricated products for the public sector across the UK.  With a focus on quality products and excellent customer service, SAS Shelters are safe contractor approved and ISO9000 certified.

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With the weather growing warmer and summer most definitely imminent, students everywhere are starting to gaze out of windows and wish they were somewhere other than a hot, stuffy classroom. And when you think about it, they might have a good point. Taking learning outside the classroom can carry some very significant benefits...

1. Better Behaviour

When it's announced that you will be having the lesson outside or that a school trip is coming up soon, the first thing that happens is normally all the children cheering. Suddenly, pupils who were discontented feel lucky, and like this particular lesson is a treat. The result is happier students who are less inclined to misbehave.

2. Promote Creativity

Letting students loose from the confines of the classroom often frees up their minds as well as their bodies, thanks to the stimulation that comes with fresh air and varied, natural surroundings. When it comes to school trips, the results can be particularly powerful as the heritage sites and areas of natural beauty they find themselves in can be rich sources of inspiration for all kinds of creative endeavours.

3. Increase Engagement

There is a whole world outside the classroom, and it is filled with opportunities to make learning more engaging. In the great outdoors, you can find real-world applications for concepts and ideas you are trying to teach and interesting new ways to illustrate your lessons to students. The sciences are subjects that can particularly benefit from outdoor teaching, as there are so many things that students could study, observe and record before crunching numbers, drawing graphs and writing up their findings when they get back to the classroom.

4. Boost Enthusiasm

When subjects are more engaging and are taught in outdoor surroundings and through real-world applications, children may well develop greater enthusiasm for their studies. It can be hard, sitting in a classroom and dealing with the theoretical, to fully appreciate what a subject is all about. There's only so much that can take place in a classroom setting. When children move from the facts and figures of a history lesson to a museum or discover how the equations they learn in biology can be used to reach conclusions about the natural world, they will get a better grasp of the subject as a whole and may become more interested.

5. Experiment and Discover

Learning outside the classroom is a chance for exploration, experimentation and discovery, and this goes for you as much as for your pupils. The outdoors is an almost endless source of learning and teaching opportunities. Once you step outside the classroom, you and your students alike will have the chance to discover new methods, new ways to make the subject interesting, and new ways to put things into practice. For children, this is a great way to add fuel to the learning process and to make it more interesting. For teachers, it is an almost limitless source of new tactics for helping students get a grip on your subject.

Do you take learning outside? Share your experiences below.

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