Here - Institute for Outdoor Learning

Outdoor Learning in the Curriculum
Robbie Nicol
Moray House School of Education
The University of Edinburgh
January 2013
[email protected]
Just Being There!
The restorative environments –
Kaplan and Kaplan.
Heath and Well-Being Agenda
informed by Psychologicalevolutionary theory.
The morale significance of
Is “Green” Good For You?
Biophilia (E.O. Wilson)
Sunlight and vitamin D
Recovery from stress
Catharine Ward Thompson
Objective measure of the
relationship between green
spaces and stress based on
cortisol levels
Being Outdoors is Good
Looking Ahead
What future do we envision for our
Outdoor Experiences are
Special BUT….
• Nature-based experiences may be
good for us BUT
• In what ways are they good for the
• The emerging concept of
Environmental Sustainability
Some Propositions
• The ecological, economic and social
environment of our planet will change
considerably in the 21st century
• The education systems of the world will
have to adapt to prepare young people for
an uncertain future
• YP will need to be prepared in terms of
knowledge and skills, critical awareness,
attitudes, personal and social qualities, and
above all the capacity to continue to learn.
What will we need to teach?
1 How do the ecological systems
of the Earth function?
2 How are we personally tied into
these systems in our lives?
3 How can we make changes
(individually and collectively) in
order to lessen our impact upon
these systems?
Why Outdoor Education?
• Being in ‘the environment’ and experiencing natural
Impact of outdoor learning on attitudes to
sustainability & global citizenship
• Sustainable behaviours depend on an empathy and
an ethic of care towards the environment
• Teachers and pupils need to develop their ecological
literacy and gain a sound understanding of key
ecological principles to help them understand the
impact of their actions and manage their behaviour
• Direct hands-on experiences in nature helps students
develop a sense of place and connection to the local
area and the wider world around them
Christie & Higgins 2012
Policy issues
A Curriculum for Excellence
• Values:‘wisdom, compassion, integrity and justice’
• The four‘capacities’(‘successful learners,
confident individuals, effective contributors,
responsible citizens’)
• Educational principles to pervade teaching
• Subject areas must address these
• Progression from 3 – 18
Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2005
A framework for learning outdoors
“The journey through
education for any child in
Scotland must include
opportunities for a series of
planned, quality outdoor
learning experiences.”
Learning & Teaching Scotland 2010 p. 5
Education Scotland
Outdoor Learning Officer in 26 of
32 Local Authorities (December
Learning For Sustainability
(One Planet Schools)
Brings together sustainable
development education, global
citizenship and outdoor learning.
One Planet Schools
UN University
Regional Centre of
Expertise in ESD
General Teaching
Council –
(Values, Leadership,
Other Ministerial
Advisory Groups
Learning for
(Scottish Studies,
Modern Languages,
Intended to make “an essential
contribution to building the values,
attitudes, knowledge, skills and
confidence needed to engage
positively with the challenges our
society and the world face.”
“This is a Scotland where learners
are educated through their
landscape and understand their
environment, culture and heritage;
where they develop a sense of
place and belonging to their local,
national and global community,
and have a deep connection to
the natural world. Here, learners
will understand the significance
of their choices, now and in the
“Our intention is to ensure that
learning relating to sustainable
development, global citizenship
and outdoor learning is
experienced in a transformative
way by every learner in every
school across Scotland.”
“Learning for sustainability is not
intended to replace what schools
are already doing but to build on it
by providing a linking thread...”
“In line with the new GTCS
Professional Standards, every
practitioner, school and education
leader should demonstrate
learning for sustainability in their
Future Worries
• Maintaining the momentum
• There is no room for complacency
• The Outdoor Learning/Education
• Save our Centres!
• Open new ones?
The Devolution Question
• Does England Need Devolution?
• At the Council of Outdoor Educators of
Ontario annual conference (2012),
members were asked to finish the
statement: Outdoor Education is...
Outdoor Learning in the Curriculum
Robbie Nicol
Moray House School of Education
The University of Edinburgh
January 2013
[email protected]

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