10 SES 07 A, Professional Identity & Teacher Identity: Learning outside, in school, at home
Regular education outside the classroom (EOtC), in Scandinavia known as udeskole (Bentsen et al., 2010; 2012), is becoming a widespread educational approach for school children in Denmark (Barfod et al., 2016) and inspires school development in other European countries (e.g. Germany, and England). Although not explicitly mentioning udeskole in the recent reform of the Danish schools, the reform contributes to the development of udeskole. Among the sixteen major changes of the national curriculum, especially three have an impact on the development of udeskole: 1) a longer and more varied school day; 2) more PE, physical exercise and activity; and 3) the open school, involving the surrounding community (e.g. sports clubs) in the school (Danish Ministry of Education, 2014).
Udeskole is ideally described to enforce problem-based, playful and creative teaching (Jordet, 2010), encompassing interdisciplinary, child-centered practices. Research results reveals positive impact of EOtC and udeskole on pupils’ learning and well-being (e.g. Fiennes et al., 2015; Rickinson et al., 2004). However, less attention has been to the teachers, even though one of the most important features for children’s outcome is the teachers’ decisions and the approach to teaching ‘what teachers do matters’ (Hattie, 2009, p. 22).
Having the courage to lose control and being comfortable and relaxed outdoors seemed to render outdoor teaching by experienced Swedish teachers (Ericsson, 2002). In Nova Scotia (Foran, 2005) teachers expressed perceived intensity as a major pedagogical encounter in outdoor education. Not as a result of adventure or fear, but concomitant with the shared experiences between teacher and pupil. The ‘teachable moments’ (Ibid, p. 153) could derive from unplanned, surprising experiences ameliorating the educational situation and ‘shared consciousness’ (p 154). British science teachers (Glackin, 2016) with constructivist beliefs were more tenacious teaching outdoors, than colleagues with more traditional views. Based on the framework developed by Rickinson et al. (2004), Dyment (2005) analysed barriers for using green school grounds for teaching. She found that in contrast to Rickinson, fear about children’s safety and shortage of resources were not seen as major barriers for teaching outdoors. However, she still found lack of teacher confidence and expertise, school curricula and ‘wider changes to education sector’ (i.e. change of steering documents, reforms etc.) to be present. Apparently, EOtC teaching is facing other challenges than ‘mainstream’ indoor teaching. As Rickinson’s study encompasses a wide array of outdoor education practices, udeskole can be considered more aligned
with Dyment’s ‘green school ground’ teaching, and the perceived barriers to be comparable, even if the studies are made in different cultural contexts.
Given the widespread occurrence of udeskole in Denmark and its emergence in other European countries, this paper aims to explore udeskole teachers’ experiences of being an EOtC teacher.
Barfod, K., Ejbye-Ernst, N., Mygind, L., & Bentsen, P. (2016). Increased provision of udeskole in Danish schools: An updated national population survey. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 20, 277–281. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2016.09.012 Bentsen, P., Søndergaard Jensen, F., Mygind, E., Barfoed Randrup, T. (2010). The extent and dissemination of udeskole in Danish schools. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 9(3):235–43. Bentsen, P., Jensen, F.S. (2012). The nature of udeskole: outdoor learning theory and practice in Danish schools. Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning. 12(3):199–219. Braun, V. & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101. https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa Danish Ministry of Education (2014). Agreement between the Danish Government (the Social Democrats, the Social- Liberal Party and the Socialist People’s Party), the Liberal Party of Denmark and the Danish People’s Party on an improvement of standards in the Danish public school (primary and lower secondary education). Retrieved from http://eng.uvm.dk/ . Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic Motivation and Self-determination in Human Behaviour. New York and London: Plenum Press. Dyment, J. E. (2005). Green school grounds as sites for outdoor learning: Barriers and opportunities. International Research in Geographical & Environmental Education, 14(1), 28–45. Fiennes, C., Oliver, E., Dickson, K., Escobar, D., Romans, A., & Oliver, S. (2015). The Existing Evidence-Base about the Effectiveness of Outdoor Learning - Final Report October 2015. Giving Evidence, UCL Institute of Education, University College London, The Institute for Outdoor Learning. Retrieved from http://www.outdoor-learning.org/Portals/0/IOL%20Documents/Blagrave%20Report/Outdoor%20Learning%20Blagrave-Giving%20Evidence%20Final%20Report%20Nov%202015.pdf Glackin, M. (2016). “Risky fun” or “Authentic science”? How teachers’ beliefs influence their practice during a professional development programme on outdoor learning. International Journal of Science Education, 38(3), 409–433. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2016.1145368 Jordet, A. N. (2010). Klasserommet utenfor. Tilpasset oplæring i et utvidet læringsrom. Cappelen akademiske; [In Norwegian] Rickinson, M., Dillon, J., Teamey, K., Morris, M., Choi, M. Y., Sanders, D., & Benefield, P. (2004). A review of research on Outdoor Learning.Kings College, London. Retrieved from http://www.field-studies-council.org/documents/general/nfer/a_review_of_research_on_outdoor_learning.pdf
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