18 SES 04 JS, Outdoor Activity, Health Promotion and Learning
Joint Paper Session NW 08 and NW 18
The educational advantages of relocating school-based teaching and learning activities to places outside the classroom, in example forests, parks, libraries and museums have become more and more recognized around North European countries (Fägerstam, 2014; Norḥdahl & Jóhannesson, 2014; Waite, Bølling, & Bentsen, 2015). Education Outside the Classroom (EOtC) is described as involving innovative teaching methods, child-led approaches to problem solving, experimentation, cooperation, play ,physical activity and lower levels of adult control (Bentsen, Mygind, & Randrup, 2009; Waite et al., 2015).
In Denmark, the use of EOtC is widespread and is often practiced on a weekly or bi-weekly basis (Barfod, Ejbye-Ernst, Mygind, & Bentsen, 2016). Recently, a new school reform was implemented in Danish schools, which among other things support the practice and provision of EOtC to promote pupils’ motivation for school through more varied school days EOtC.
Pupils feeling of enjoyable and simulating school days decline with age specially in mid-school (Gutman, Brown, Akerman, & Obolenskaya, 2010). Several case studies have highlighted that aspects of EOtC have a possibility to provide a more pleasant school day and may improve pupils’ motivation for school and thereby their learning processes. In specific, child-led group work and playful learning activities, through concrete non-theoretical working methods or school gardening projects may improve pupils desire to learn (Hartmeyer & Mygind, 2015; Mygind, 2009; Wistoft, 2013).
Self-Determination Theory (SDT) proposes that extrinsic motivated behaviors are behaviors driven by external rewards associated to and gained through the activity, but is external to the activity itself, such as gaining acceptance, or avoiding punishment. Intrinsically motivated behaviors are behaviors that are driven by rewards inherent in the activity itself, like positive feelings of competence, relatedness or autonomy during the activity.
According to SDT is the feelings of the autonomy, competence, and relatedness to others are universal basic psychological needs (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Activities that create these feelings will foster intrinsic motivation leading to enhanced involvement in the activity (Ryan & Deci, 2000; Vallerand, 2000).
It seems that the activities and characteristics of EOtC could promote feelings of autonomy, competence, and relatedness to peers, which in turn facilitates intrinsic motivation for these activities and settings. According to the hierarchical nature of motivation (Vallerand, 2000) this promotion can influence pupil´s more general motivation for school.
Until now, no study has evaluated the effect of EOtC on pupils’ motivation for school. Thus, our main research questions are whether, and to what extent, a substantial and regular use of an EOtC program influences primary school pupils’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivation for school. Further, we aim to investigate whether the effect depends on academic performance, gender and socioeconomic background.
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