ERG SES H 04, International Contexts in Education
In related literature, a number of studies exist that focus on outdoor education in early years from different aspects. Some of the studies focus on the importance of outdoor play in early years in terms of physical, cognitive and social development (Fjørtoft, 2001; Ouvry, 2000; Rakison, 2005; Aasen, Grindheim, & Waters, 2009), some others focus on the advantages of risk taking in natural outdoor settings (e.g. Little, 2010; Sandseter, 2010, 2012). In addition, there are other studies which focus on the relation between spent time in outdoor environment and academic performance in subsequent years, health and environmental awareness (Chawla, 1999; Faber Taylor & Kuo, 2006; Wells, 2000; Wells & Lekies, 2006). Although importance of outdoor education is widely acknowledged, it is far from being universal (Garrik, 2009). In some part of the world including Nordic countries, England and Germany and Australia, children’s access to outdoor environment is important (Sandseter, 2010, 2012; Ärlemalm-Hagsér & Sandberg, 2013) in other parts such as Tukey, it is recent but growing field (Yalçın, 2015). In the countries, like Turkey, there is a need to extend the education to outdoors by presenting facilitative teacher involvement. However, almost all of the conducted studies to investigate in-service teachers’ beliefs and practices of outdoor education stated that teachers should be trained about how to facilitate outdoor education. In-service and pre-service education were proposed as educational implications (Dyment & Coleman, 2012; Goodling, 2017; Ihmeideh, & Al-Qaryouti, 2016; McClintic & Petty, 2015; Yalçın, 2015). As those researchers indicated, in-service teacher training could be one way to form teachers’ beliefs and improve their outdoor education practices. However, when teachers are graduated from university and participated to the regular system, they have generally configured their beliefs in relation to teaching and learning. When it is considered that beliefs are resistant to change (Clark & Peterson, 1986; Kagan, 1992), the role of pre-service teacher training programs in constructing pre-service teachers’ beliefs comes into prominence. In other words, pre-service teacher training programs might be more effective to construct pre-service teachers’ beliefs of outdoor education and to make them capable in terms of facilitating children’s outdoor learning. In this regard, several research that have been conducted to examine the role of pre-service teacher training programs in forming pre-service teachers’ beliefs (Nettle, 1998; Ng vd., 2010; Stuart & Thurlow, 2000) constitute an evidence for this foresight. At that point, it is a matter of interest whether the faculty of educations and pedagogy in different universities involve a course at undergraduate degree specifically focused on outdoor education. The aim of the current study is to reveal how outdoor education courses are designed and applied in undergraduate level. The researchers in this study motivated to investigate course catalogue of universities based on the idea that early childhood professionals could inspire from the practices of different universities in this issue. To this end, as possible as, the syllabuses of the courses will be obtained from course catalogues and/or the instructors of target courses.
Methodology As previously indicated, the current study aims to investigate the Outdoor Education course contents through analysing the catalogues of faculties of education in different universities. Purposive sampling technique will be utilized while determining the target universities. In this sense, the researcher will focus on the universities from Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, England, Australia and Turkey. While determining those countries, the researchers considered that the published studies related to outdoor education were frequently conducted in target countries. While selecting the universities, the researcher will determine a criterion. In this respect, the first 500 universities in Times Higher Education ranking will be listed and the universities from target countries in this list will be determined to investigate their course catalogue. While examining course catalogue of universities, the researcher will be utilized several pre-determined keywords such as outdoor play, outdoor learning, outdoor education, risky outdoor play, nature pedagogy, forest school and forest pedagogy in order to evaluate the eligibility of the courses to this research. Pre-determined key words were selected by being utilized the “SAGE handbook of Outdoor Play and Learning”. After determining eligible course, if needed, the instructors of target courses will be contacted to ask the syllabus of the courses. While analysing obtained documents, the content analysis method will be conducted.
Expected Result It is expected to be found the faculties of education in the universities from Nordic, England and Australia will involve at least an elective course(s) related to outdoor education in their undergraduate training programs. In addition, the content of the courses might involve some subjects such as, the importance of outdoor education for children, facilitative teachers’ roles in outdoor education, nature based-pedagogies, risks and safety in outdoor environment, teaching methods in outdoor education and so forth. Although the courses may involve similar contents, some differences may be observed based on the educational philosophies and culture of the societies. Lastly, target courses might include some practicums in various outdoor setting.
REFERENCES Ärlemalm-Hagsér, E., & Sandberg, A. (2013). Outdoor play in a Swedish preschool context. In S. Knight (Ed.), International perspectives on Forest School: Natural spaces to play and learn (pp. 42–52). London: Sage. Clark, C. M., & Peterson, P. L. (1986). Teachers’ thought processes. In M. C. Wittrock, Handbook of research on teaching (3rd ed.) (pp.255-296). New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. Dyment, J. E., & Coleman, B. (2012). The intersection of physical activity opportunities and the role of early childhood educators during outdoor play: Perceptions and reality. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 37(1). Fjørtoft, I. (2001). The Natural environment as a playground for children: The impact of outdoor play activities in pre-primary school children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 29(2), 111-117. Goodling, B. H. (2017). Exploring the outdoors: A multiple case study examining teacher beliefs and practices in preschool outdoor play (Order No. 10195470). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1857949435). Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1857949435?accountid=13014. Ihmeideh, F. M., & Al-Qaryouti, I. A. (2016). Exploring kindergarten teachers’ views and roles regarding children’s outdoor play environments in Oman. Early Years: An International Journal of Research and Development, 36(1), 81-96. doi:10.1080/09575146.2015.1077783. Kagan, D. M. (1992). Implications of research on teacher belief. Educational Psychologist, 27(1), 65-90. McClintic, S., & Petty, K. (2015) Exploring Early Childhood Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices About Preschool Outdoor Play: A Qualitative Study, Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 36(1), 24-43. Nettle, E. B. (1998). Stability and change in the beliefs of student teachers during practice teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 14(2), 193-204. Ng, W., Nicholas, H., & Williams, A. (2010). School experience influences on pre-service teachers’ evolving beliefs about effective teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(2), 278-289. Sandseter, E. B. H. (2010). Scaryfunny. A qualitative study of risky play among preschool children Doctoral thesis. Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway. Sandseter, E. B. H. (2012). Restrictive safety or unsafe freedom? Norwegian ECEC practitioners’ perceptions and practices concerning children’s risky play. Childcare in Practice, 18(1), 83–101. Spodek, B. (1988). The implicit theories of early childhood teachers. Early Child Development and Care, 38, 13-32. The Sage handbook of outdoor play and learning. (2017). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2017. Yalçın, F. (2015). A cross-cultural study on outdoor play: parent and teacher perspective. Unpuplsihed master’s thesis, Middle East Technical University, Ankara
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