Abstract


INTEGRATING OUTDOOR SCHOOL LEARNING INTO FORMAL CURRICULUM: DESIGNING OUTDOOR LEARNING EXPERIENCES AND DEVELOPING OUTDOOR LEARNING FRAMEWORK FOR PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS

This study focuses on designing outdoor school learning experiences integrated into curriculum to provide motivation for achieving curriculum’s learning objectives. Within this study, pre-service teachers have experienced outdoor learning as a part of formal curriculum of their elective course. After designing outdoor activities and experiencing outdoor environments, their perceptions have been explored about influences of outdoor school learning. Considering the nature of this learning style, this study includes 28 undergraduate students studying at Social studies education (n=10), Pre-school education (n=8), Turkish language education (n=6) and Primary school education (n=4). This study adopts document analysis as research design, uses researcher’s observation notes and pre-service teachers’ written diaries about outdoor learning environments as data collection tools. Data analysis indicates that pre-service teachers enthusiastically support designing the curriculum of a course with outdoor learning experiences. They consider he most convenient learning activities in outdoor settings as “making experiments (n=20)”, exploration tasks (n=17), creativity tasks (n=17), “imagination tasks (n=16)”, “collaborative tasks (n=16)” and “observation tasks (n=14)”, “reflection tasks” (n=12). They also list “museums (n=21)”, “science centers (n=20)”, “national parks (n=18)”, art galleries and artists’ studios (n=18), planetariums (n=15), botanic gardens (n=12), historical places such as madrasah, castle (n=11), places of business -including industry & media (n=10), nature itself (n=10)- as outdoor learning environments. They regard “teachers’ level of professionalism (n=17), students’ well-being in the learning environment (n=15)” as the most important factors facilitating outdoor school learning. Also, data analysis indicates that outdoor school learning is efficient in terms of three domains: personal development such as greater sense of confidence, autonomy, motivation and curiosity; social development such as respect for environment, connectedness, social interaction, sense of social responsibility, outdoor leadership; and lastly school-related development such as school adjustment, flexible learning/curriculum, active commitment, course adaptability, attention to the content, critical thinking, real-life learning experiences.



Keywords

Outdoor school learning environments, experiential learning, outdoor education, integration of outdoor learning into curriculum


Reference