I am currently enrolled at Walden University pursuing a doctorate of education degree in teacher leadership, I am about to embark on the dissertation phase of the program. My educational background includes a Bachelor of Art in English, a Master of Education, and I have been an elementary school teacher for seven years in an urban school district.

While running along the Delaware Canal in Bucks County, Pennsylvania I realized that I am happiest when I am outdoors and of all my passions in life, love of nature and the outdoors is one that I would like to inspire in students. Lack of exposure to nature and time spent exploring and playing in nature is something I know that students in urban and suburban schools have in common. My passion for the outdoors complements my philosophy of education, the foundation of which is the works of John Dewey and Howard Gardener. I sincerely believe that children learn best by doing. I would like to focus my research on outdoor learning and I am seeking advice and/or ideas on which direction to focus my research.

I am thinking along the lines of a mixed methods approach focusing on educators’ perceptions regarding outdoor learning with the aim of either designing professional development for educators on outdoor learning or curriculum development for pre-service teacher courses in outdoor learning.

I would be grateful for any input or guidance regarding current research needs in outdoor learning and the benefit it holds for students. Thanks!

Views: 65

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Kimberly

 

There's been a few research documents published in Scotland about educator's perceptions of outdoor learning. They make interesting reading. If you visit my blog, I've an outdoor research section - have a look at the Learning Teaching Scotland link. 

 

My gut feeling though, is that it is about educators' mindsets. What is lacking is the focus on what does motivate a teacher to go outside and how educators change from being "agoraphobic" to those who back their beliefs with actions. Most agree that OL is a good thing. But most don't do it. I think it's deeper than superficial reasons such as health and safety, cost, transport, weather, etc. 

 

What really got me thinking about this was a book called Influencer. Nothing to do with OL but everything to do with sustaining change.

Hello

I am currently in the field of early childhood and have been teaching since 1984.  I have noticed a significant difference in the needs over the years of children.  Many of the children now have autisitic type disorders along with ADHD type disorders.  These type of issues did not seem as wide spread in children in the 80's and early 90's.  Their is also a significant increase in behavior problems among children.  Even though I have been in the field many years, I have found myself spending more time on discipline. than I did years ago.

 

  I feel that the lack of exposure that children are having to outside from fears of safety and parents being much more over protective are main issues along with the increase of technology and overscheduling of children's days.  Being able to think independently, solve problems, and be creative seems to be harder for children to do these days.  Also, if children are not exposed to nature regularly, they can get a variety of health problems such as obesity, which leads to many other problems.

 

  Yet the the main concern I have is the lack of appreciation that children will have for nature if they are not allowed to play outside regularly.  How will our future generations solve our global warming issues if they do not care about nature?  I hope  I didnt overwhelm you with ideas.    Good luck with your school work.   Hopefully I have helped a little.



Sharon McCarthy said:
Saving…

Hi Juliet,

Thank you so much for your reply it is immensely helpful. I was really having a difficult time articulating what it is that I want to research about outdoor learning. Your thoughts on what motivates educators to venture outside it really struck a chord. It would be interesting to discover educators engaged in outdoor learning, to what degree, and what motivates them to venture outdoors. I have studied some change theory in my courses, mainly work by Roland Barth and Michael Fullan and I am interested to learn what Influencer says about change.

Thank you for your help!
Juliet Robertson said:

Hi Kimberly

 

There's been a few research documents published in Scotland about educator's perceptions of outdoor learning. They make interesting reading. If you visit my blog, I've an outdoor research section - have a look at the Learning Teaching Scotland link. 

 

My gut feeling though, is that it is about educators' mindsets. What is lacking is the focus on what does motivate a teacher to go outside and how educators change from being "agoraphobic" to those who back their beliefs with actions. Most agree that OL is a good thing. But most don't do it. I think it's deeper than superficial reasons such as health and safety, cost, transport, weather, etc. 

 

What really got me thinking about this was a book called Influencer. Nothing to do with OL but everything to do with sustaining change.


Hi Sharon,

I agree that children’s disconnectedness from nature is having an ill effect on their learning and their health. Your reply echoes my thinking on the subject and confirms that I chosen the most appropriate subject for my dissertation. Thank you for your reply.


Sharon McCarthy said:

Hello

I am currently in the field of early childhood and have been teaching since 1984.  I have noticed a significant difference in the needs over the years of children.  Many of the children now have autisitic type disorders along with ADHD type disorders.  These type of issues did not seem as wide spread in children in the 80's and early 90's.  Their is also a significant increase in behavior problems among children.  Even though I have been in the field many years, I have found myself spending more time on discipline. than I did years ago.

 

  I feel that the lack of exposure that children are having to outside from fears of safety and parents being much more over protective are main issues along with the increase of technology and overscheduling of children's days.  Being able to think independently, solve problems, and be creative seems to be harder for children to do these days.  Also, if children are not exposed to nature regularly, they can get a variety of health problems such as obesity, which leads to many other problems.

 

  Yet the the main concern I have is the lack of appreciation that children will have for nature if they are not allowed to play outside regularly.  How will our future generations solve our global warming issues if they do not care about nature?  I hope  I didnt overwhelm you with ideas.    Good luck with your school work.   Hopefully I have helped a little.

Hi Kimberly,

I have presently started a Doctorate in Education at Wollongong University in Australia.  My research area is in Environmental Attitude in Teenagers. I have found the work of Louise Chawla in 2006: 'Learning to Love the Natural World Enough to Protect It', of particular interest as to how we develop an attitude towards nature. Having taught Outdoor Education since the 80's I have witnessed the differences between educator's attitudes to nature.

 

Good Luck.

 

Yeshi

Hello Yeshi

I am also interested in environmental education among youth.  Have you read David Sobel's book, "Placed- Based Education, Connecting Classrooms and Communities?"  If you havent, I would highly reccomend it.  One of the best books out their that I have read so far on getting kids and community engaged in environmental education.  Thier is  a lot of examples of teens in action and encouraging a positive attitude towards helping the environment and community while getting a great education.

 Good luck with your Doctorate.  I will have to check out Louise Chawla's book.

Sharon 
Yeshi said:

Hi Kimberly,

I have presently started a Doctorate in Education at Wollongong University in Australia.  My research area is in Environmental Attitude in Teenagers. I have found the work of Louise Chawla in 2006: 'Learning to Love the Natural World Enough to Protect It', of particular interest as to how we develop an attitude towards nature. Having taught Outdoor Education since the 80's I have witnessed the differences between educator's attitudes to nature.

 

Good Luck.

 

Yeshi

RSS

© 2019   Created by amy pertschuk.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service