C&NN Connect was created to support people and organizations working worldwide to reconnect children and nature.

C&NN

Children and Nature News

Connect with us:

Follow us on Twitter
Become a fan
Read our blog

Visit the Children & Nature Network Web site for news, resources, network initiatives, and the Movement Map.

Hello everyone,

I just joined the Natural Teachers discussion board and wanted to ask all of you for some advice.  Let me first introduce myself,  I work with a non-profit nature center in the Northern Panhandle of WV.  We work with regional schools delivering programs ranging from ecology to folklore.

My  question for all of you is how can I engage teachers who bring students to the center, but who are not necessarily "outdoors" people, to lead their students by example.  It seems to me like a teacher with a slightly negative attitude about weather, water, soil, etc.  can bring down the entire class.  Do you have any experience encouraging your less-excited peers to give their students a chance outside?

~Jake

Views: 232

Replies to This Discussion

Jake,

A hearty welcome to the Natural Teachers Network Group site, and to the Children & Nature Network family.  This is an excellent question.  Engaging   "non-outdoors" teachers is the ultimate prize envisioned when we set up this Group site, and I am grateful for your post of this question and your dedication in doing this.  A part of the answer may just be trial and error, and seeing what works.  Another part of the answer, which our Natural Teachers Network Award winner Larry Volpe embodies, is to find an "outdoors" teacher in a school and encourage/inspire them to reach out to their "non-outdoors" teacher colleagues....and administrators.  Larry is an ace at this, briefing his colleagues whenever he can about the benefits of using nature as a classroom.  He clearly walks the talk and wants to help others.  He can be reached at larry.volpe@comcast.net .  Perhaps another answer is to access our network of Family Nature Clubs, and have parents and students ask their teachers and school administrators to use nature as a classroom.  We have a Family Nature Club group site that you can access on C&NN Connect.  I am sure you will receive other responses to your post.  Please stay in touch on what you have learned, especially what works.  I can be reached directly at john.thielbahr003@gmail.com.  All the best, jt

Hi, I've been amazed when I come upon teachers/volunteers whom aren't really interested in the experience ...who wouldn't love the opportunity to be in nature?! But that is the case sometimes.

Engaging in nature is a multi-sensory, tactile experience and not everyone can physically engage as easily ...even if they love and respect what nature has to offer. It's hard for an adult to admit that so it's good to try and interpret from their reaction why they're not enjoying the experience then respond accordingly. ...I do know "field trips" also allow teachers to disengage momentarily and let someone else teach so it might not be that they are negative to the experience actually.

I find if you give the disengaged person a responsibility it automatically engages them and then just by participating they start to enjoy the experience ...because they are helping guide the experience. It's as simple as asking them to assist you with a task or calling upon them to help with a demonstration.

 

At the end of the day if you capture the "awe" of just one person (student or teacher) you have  inspired a future enthusiast and that is a good day in my book. You can only control how you give so kudos to you!!!

 

Stephanie

www.letsgochipper.com

www.growingupforgood.org

 

 

 

Thanks for this thoughtful suggestion, Stephanie.  Hope all is well in Chipper land.  John
 
Stephanie Rach-Wilson said:

Hi, I've been amazed when I come upon teachers/volunteers whom aren't really interested in the experience ...who wouldn't love the opportunity to be in nature?! But that is the case sometimes.

Engaging in nature is a multi-sensory, tactile experience and not everyone can physically engage as easily ...even if they love and respect what nature has to offer. It's hard for an adult to admit that so it's good to try and interpret from their reaction why they're not enjoying the experience then respond accordingly. ...I do know "field trips" also allow teachers to disengage momentarily and let someone else teach so it might not be that they are negative to the experience actually.

I find if you give the disengaged person a responsibility it automatically engages them and then just by participating they start to enjoy the experience ...because they are helping guide the experience. It's as simple as asking them to assist you with a task or calling upon them to help with a demonstration.

 

At the end of the day if you capture the "awe" of just one person (student or teacher) you have  inspired a future enthusiast and that is a good day in my book. You can only control how you give so kudos to you!!!

 

Stephanie

www.letsgochipper.com

www.growingupforgood.org

 

 

 

Hi Jake, I used to work in  several different nature centres as well as outreach (in-school programs) and discovered if you provide some indoor programs only (with no expectation of going outdoors) you can hook those indoor lovers into the topic, then later classes (usually subsequent years) you can offer the some part indoor and outdoor programs. We found that their fear is partly driven by having to deal with wet and hungry kids, so if you can provide them with an opportunity to prevent those situations, you are halfway there to gaining their interest to venture further into nature! For all outdoor programs, some places I worked supplied rain ponchos (one size fits all) as not all kids come prepared. The teachers liked this as well. 

Another thought is to choose topics that lend themselves to indoor study, that can go outdoors later and that they cannot get anywhere else. Really unique topics such as dogs. Message me privately and we can talk!

Has anyone tried inviting teacher groups to a a fun overnight or weekend at a local camp?  In our city, many of the reluctant teachers are those who did not grow up with nature and just don't "get" the whole idea of outdoor learning. I imagine there would need to be a "hook" to get them to go to a camp, but bet that once they did, there would be some converts. Wonder if this has been done somewhere and if it had a good result?

I work as an Early Childhood Educator in Manitoba, Canada. This is a topic that comes up all the time at our discussions at our local nature educators group meetings (MNACC). As Claire Warden says all it takes is one "fish face" teacher to suck all the wonder out of an experience.

Our response is that we've started a weekend camp/conference with the goal of creating a nature immersion experience for educators (www.naturesummitmb.com). Not only does it provide opportunities for people to learn more about nature and teaching in nature but there are plenty of other teachers to network with and to provide support. I feel strongly that by modelling for each other we create a culture where it is expected that teacher work to overcome the aversions that keep them indoors.

We also have many discussions talking about ways to overcome fears about risk, bugs, weather etc. and after 6 or 7 years I feel like we are changing things here in Manitoba- but there's a long way to go!

Good Luck,

Corine

RSS

© 2019   Created by amy pertschuk.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service