The Classroom and Beyond
Iberdrola. (2022). The Learning Pyramid Infographic
Learning beyond the classroom grants exciting educational opportunities which “offer a vast array of possibilities not available indoors” or experienced by students outside school (DEEWR, 2009, p.15). These spaces bring the ‘real world’ and students together, helping learners make sense of their world through connected experiences (Lindsay, 2017). Typically, they are ‘hands-on’, allowing students to ‘learn by doing’ and engage in the active process of learning (Read, 2010). They demonstrate learning is not ‘one size fits all’ but rather, unique to each student (Claiborne et al., 2020).
Iberdrola. (2022). The Learning Pyramid Infographic
The design of a learning space sets the tone of our teaching and impacts how willing students are to engage. The more effort we put into making the classroom inviting, the more students will be excited to learn. The visual display of student work, flexibility in seating (i.e. swivel chairs, beanbags, shaped tables, seating cubes, booths, lounges), use of natural light and open space are key components of the physical classroom which I have found to stimulate students’ motivation to learn in the high school context (Read, 2010).
(Above: Images of different open learning spaces taken from recent professional experience)
“Learning is not merely a solo pursuit, but is also a communal activity: It is not just that the child must make his knowledge his own, but that he must make it his own in a community of those who share his sense of belonging to a culture…these environments enable the communal making of knowledge.”– Jerome Bruner (1986)
As knowledge grows from social encounters, extending learning beyond the classroom through excursions improves academic performance, emotional wellbeing, socialisation, motivation and self-confidence (Lindsay, 2017; Merewether, 2015; Brown, 2005).
Excursions are an exciting step away from the routine of school and engage students who learn in different ways, catering to their diverse needs (Lorenza, 2009).
- Are an exciting break from school routine and engage students who learn in different ways, catering to diverse needs (Lorenza, 2009).
- Improve students’ knowledge transfer/recall (Nadelson & Jordan, 2012)
- Deepen connection to content and its real-world relevance/applications
- Improve autonomy (Claiborne et al., 2020)
- Allow students to build peer-relations, bond over shared experiences and develop a sense of belonging (Claiborne et al., 2020)
However, they require greater preparation and responsibility for educators to ensure ‘Duty of Care’ is upheld, students remain safe, follow instructions and represent the school appropriately when outside its confines. Despite this, they offer valuable experiences which greatly increase engagement, collaboration, foster critical and creative thinking and enhance inclusivity, which in turn, motivates students to learn!
For more information on learning beyond the classroom, click here.
Australian Museum. (2022). School excursions (image). https://australian.museum/visit/book-a-group/school-bookings/.
Brown, M. (2005). Learning spaces. Educating the net generation, 12-1. https://www.educause.edu/research-and-publications/books/educating-net-generation/learning-spaces.
CanStock Photo. (2018). Experience is the best teacher typography (image). https://www.canstockphoto.com/experience-is-the-best-teacher-90817279.html
Claiborne, L., Morrell, J., Bandy, J., Bruff, D., Smith, G. & Fedesco, H. (2020). Teaching Outside the Classroom. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/teaching-outside-the-classroom/.
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). (2009). Belonging, being and becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. http://docs.education.gov.au/node/2632.
Iberdrola. (2022). The Learning Pyramid Infographic (image). https://www.iberdrola.com/talent/learning-by-doing.
Lindsay, J. (2017). Connecting beyond the classroom-move from local to global learning modes. Scan: The Journal for Educators, 36(2), 27-38. https://education.nsw.gov.au/teaching-and-learning/professional-learning/scan/past-issues/vol-36–2017/connecting-beyond-the-classroom-move-from-local-to-global-learning-modes2.
Lorenza, L. (2009). Beyond four walls: why go beyond the bounds of school?. Teacher: The National Education Magazine, (Feb 2009), 22-25. https://research.acer.edu.au/teacher/vol2009/iss198/9/.
Merewether, J. (2015). Young children’s perspectives of outdoor learning spaces: What matters?. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 40(1), 99-108. https://doi.org/10.1177/183693911504000113.
Nadelson, L. S., & Jordan, J. R. (2012). Student attitudes toward and recall of outside day: An environmental science field trip. The Journal of Educational Research, 105(3), 220-231. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220671.2011.576715.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. (2022). Bound for Botany Bay (image).
Read, M. (2010). Contemplating design: listening to children’s preferences about classroom design. Creative Education, 2, 75-80. doi:10.4236/ce.2010.12012.