How to Teach Outside
As the final months of the school year, June and July provide the perfect opportunity for outdoor teaching. Despite the uncertainty of the Great British weather, the summer months offer improved conditions for outdoor teaching and learning. However, teaching outdoors can be difficult to arrange, so we’ve compiled a useful ‘How to Teach Outside’ guide to help you make the most of outdoor teaching.
What are the benefits of outdoor teaching?
Within a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by technology, outdoor teaching provides a fantastic opportunity for students to move away from screens and enjoy the outdoors. Alongside all of this, outdoor teaching has a range of additional benefits, including:
- Improved academic performance
- Increased engagement with the curriculum
- Improved problem-solving skills
- Better communication skills
- Greater resilience
Outdoor teaching also provides the opportunity for applied learning, providing an experiential learning environment. With all of these benefits, learning how to teach outside can be incredibly rewarding and beneficial for your students.
Combine outdoor teaching with the national curriculum
The benefits of outdoor teaching are best achieved when outdoor lessons are interwoven with your school’s curriculum. Take the lesson objectives from the structured curriculum and create an outdoor learning experience that allows your students to meet those objectives through the practical application of their knowledge during outdoor learning.
Ensure that you’re viewing teaching outdoors as part of your curriculum rather than an extra addition. This will reduce your workload and ensure that your students reap the full benefits of outdoor teaching through a combination of the natural environment, a structured lesson and your expertise.
Be varied with your outdoor teaching location
When we mention outdoor teaching, it’s natural to think of forest classrooms full of log benches and flower beds. This environment is excellent for certain occasions, especially science lessons. However, outdoor teaching can cover any environment beyond the confines of your classroom. This could be a local park, high street or a mountain range.
Use the environments available to you on your doorstep. If your school is located near a city or village, take your students out for an English lesson to find inaccurate uses of punctuation across road signs and shop windows. If your school is fortunate enough to be close to the beach, take your class to the beach to learn about Buddhism, reflection and mindfulness. Finally, if you’re restricted to the grounds of your school, use the markings on your school playground to complement your lesson plan, whether this is through giant clocks or world maps.
Combine outdoor teaching with wellbeing and physical activity
If you’re incorporating wellbeing and mindfulness into your classroom routine, try taking this outside to provide your students with a change of scenery. Take your morning breathing exercises out into the forest school, or treat your class to a brief morning yoga session on the playground.
It’s proven that early exposure to nature can develop a stronger sense of environmental awareness in children, so outdoor teaching is beneficial for the environment alongside developing the physical and mental wellbeing of your students. If you’re looking to use outdoor teaching in combination with emotional wellbeing, visit our article exploring the promotion of emotional wellbeing in schools.
Learning how to teach outside may feel overwhelming at first. However, with benefits including improved academic attainment, attendance and social relationships, the extra effort will be well rewarded.