08 SES 04 JS, Outdoor Activity, Health Promotion and Learning
Joint Paper Session NW 08 and NW 18
The World Health Organization, as well as many national health organisations, regards schools as an important setting for a wide range of health-promotion initiatives (Stewart-Brown, 2006; Langford et al., 2014), as children spend around 40% of their waking hours at school and as children from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds can be reached (Fairclough et al., 2012).
However, school-based health promotion initiatives are often extracurricular activities or “add-ons” to schools’ and teachers’ main objectives (i.e. academic learning) and everyday practice (Simovska et al., 2016). The fact that it is an extra task on top of other teaching obligations can act as a barrier to the implementation of such initiatives, and this may be one reason why the results of some school-based health promotion interventions are mixed (Pucher et al., 2013). Integrating research-based health promotion with schools’ main aims and objectives in such a way that teachers and students experience them as “add-ins” rather than “add-ons” may help the implementation.
Education outside the classroom (EOtC) (Beames et al., 2011) is an example of such an add-in, holistic school-based health promotion initiative, as it aims to promote physical activity (PA), but also learning, social relations, motivation, and well-being (Becker et al., 2017; Rickinson et al., 2004). In a Danish school context, EOtC is referring to curriculum-based education outside of school in natural as well as cultural settings on a regular basis (Bentsen et al., 2009). EOtC activities are characterised by teachers using the local environment in their teaching, and involve innovative teaching methods, child-led approaches to problem-solving, experimentation, cooperation, PA, and play (Rickinson et al., 2004; Jordet, 2008; Waite et al., 2013).
In Scandinavia, EOtC practice has increased in the past decade. In Denmark, for example, from a few schools and teachers using the approach at the turn of the century, by 2007 more than 290 schools (approx. 14% of all schools in the country) were practicing it (Bentsen et al., 2010). However, mainly case studies have evaluated its impacts. These have shown that, in the Scandinavian context, EOtC can have a positive influence on school children’s PA (Grønningsæter et al., 2007; Mygind, 2007, 2016; Mygind et al., 2017), use of language (Herholdt, 2003), social relations (Mygind, 2009), well-being (Gustafsson et al., 2012), and attitudes to school (Hartmeyer & Mygind, 2016).
Despite the widespread provision and national policy recommendations of EOtC, no formal systematic, structured evaluation of EOtC has been carried out. It is the aim of the TEACHOUT study to fill this gap.
The TEACHOUT project is a quasi-experimental, cross-disciplinary study which evaluates the impacts of EOtC on children’s PA, well-being, social relations, motivation, and learning (Nielsen et al., 2016). We present and discuss the study design, measurements and analytical strategies. Preliminary results on the health promoting potential of EOtC related to PA, social relations, learning outcomes, and motivation are available by autumn 2017.
Becker, C., Lauterbach, G., Spengler, S., Dettweiler, U, & Mess, F. (2017). Effects of Regular Classes in Outdoor Education Settings: A Systematic Review on Students’ Learning, Social and Health Dimensions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14, 485. Bentsen, P., Mygind, E., & Randrup, T.B. (2009). Towards an understanding of udeskole: education outside the classroom in a Danish context. Education 3-13, 37(1), 29-44. Bentsen, P., Jensen, F.S., Mygind, E., & Randrup, T.B. (2010). The extent and dissemination of udeskole in Danish schools. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 9(3), 235-43. Bølling, M., Bentsen, P., Schneller, M.B., Schipperijn, J., Otte, C.R., Donaldson, A., Mygind, E., & Nielsen, G. (2017). Brighten the black box of school-based intervention: feasibility of an online instrument to monitor education outside the classroom [in prep.]. Hartmeyer, R. & Mygind, E. (2016). A retrospective study of social relations in a Danish primary school class taught in ‘udeskole’. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 16(1), 78-89 Mygind, E. (2007). A comparison between children’s physical activity levels at school and learning in an outdoor environment. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 7(2), 161-176. Mygind, E. (2009). A comparison of children’s statements about social relations and teaching in the classroom and in the outdoor environment. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 9(2), 151-169. Mygind, E. (2016). Physical activity during learning inside and outside the classroom. Health Behavior and Policy Review, 3(5), 455-467. Mygind, L., Kryger, T.B, Sidenius, G., Schipperijn, J., & Bentsen, P. (2017). A school excursion to a museum can promote physical activity behaviors in children by integrating movement in curricular activities. European Physical Education Review [accepted]. Nielsen, G., Mygind, E., Bølling, M., Otte, C.R., Schneller, M.B., Ejbye-Ernst, N., Schipperijn, J., & Bentsen, P. (2016). A quasi-experimental cross-disciplinary evaluation of the impacts of Education Outside the Classroom on pupils’ physical activity, well-being and learning: the TEACHOUT study protocol. BMC Public Health, 16, 1117. Schneller, M.B., Bentsen, P., Nielsen, G., Brønd, J.C., Ried-Larsen, M., Mygind, E., & Schipperijn, J. (2017). Measuring Children's Physical Activity: Compliance Using Skin-taped Accelerometers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise [accepted]. Schneller, M.B., Duncan, S., Schipperijn, J., Nielsen, G., & Mygind, E., & Bentsen, P. (2017). Are children participating in a quasi-experimental education outside the classroom intervention more physically active? BMC Public Health [accepted].
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