EOE224 Week 1
Outdoor Education. This is a bit of a new concept for me. Sure, I had the odd teacher in elementary and high school who would take our class outside, however, going out for classes tended to be unproductive subject-wise, so it was used as more of a reward. In grade six or seven, my class got the opportunity to build an outdoor classroom for our elementary school with benches and a small garden area with different species of plants and flowers, but the classroom has gone largely unused by most teachers.
So, I suppose my question (one I plan to explore in more depth throughout the semester) is, “what is Outdoor Education?” When I mention to people that I am taking EOE 224 (Outdoor Ed) I often get asked what that means and what I plan to do with it? At one point, someone was concerned that I would only be able to work at the school in Saskatoon which offers an extensive outdoor program. Clearly, this concept is one that is not widely understood.
Now a few days into the course, I would like to start with my definition from first impressions. Will it change? I am not sure, but it will grow and expand either way.
- Outdoor Education is an opportunity to expose youth to the wonders of nature while still being taught the school curriculum.
I believe that an individual will learn better when learning styles are combined, and they can see the practical uses for what they learn. It is my hope that Outdoor Education will provide us future educators will the tools necessary to be able to combine curriculum and nature.
Practicing stillness, as we are encouraged to do in this course, is something I have not done since I was young. I was introduced to the concept in summer camp, and we called this “Tree Time.” Encouraged to go into the forests and find a tree that was separate from everybody else’s tree, we were given a few minutes to sit and observe the nature around us. What did we hear? What did we see? What was special about the tree we chose to sit by? I loved this practice and would continue to do similarly when my family went camping. Looking back on it, I did this less and less as I grew older and became more immersed in the world of electronics. Just this summer when my family went tenting, we all had our phones out, and I never ventured into the woods alone once. Yes, we were outside, sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows, cooking outside, and sleeping in our tent. Not one of us noticed anything different from previous times we had done this, but for me, coming back was different somehow. I didn’t feel as refreshed as I normally would have. Looking back, I think perhaps that I felt this way because I did not acknowledge the nature around us. I made no connection to the land we were staying on.