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Teachers' intention for outdoor education: conceptualizing learning in different domains
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education. (UMSER)
2012 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In Sweden there is a growing interest among teachers to locate teaching outdoors. This is linked to beliefs about the potential for outdoor environments to reinforce learning, since the encounter with nature becomes more holistic. Outdoors, all the senses are involved in knowledge-building and activity experiences. According to previous research, outdoor learning can lead to reinforcement between learning domains and provide a bridge to higher order learning.

 

This thesis, comprising two papers, will focus on teachers’ intentions and educational objectives with outdoor learning, and how these educational objectives are implemented in outdoor activities. The alignment between teachers’ predefined objectives and the types of knowledge and cognitive processes reflected in the outdoor activities are also investigated.

Semi-structured interviews, including descriptions of successful activities and reflections on metaphors and observations, were used to collect data. The interview transcripts were analysed using Halldén’s theory of intentional analysis to identify teachers’ intentions when locating learning outdoors.  Teachers’ objectives in the cognitive domain were further analysed by Bloom’s revised taxonomy. 

The teachers have a range of reasons for outdoor learning, including pursuing theoretical knowledge through experience-based learning, exploring real objects using multiple senses, stimulating positive feelings towards nature, and promoting collaboration. The main intention of arranging outdoor learning is to create an alternative learning arena as an important complement to classroom learning, contributing values to students’ learning process. The teachers use a diverse set of outdoor activities.

The findings included a typology of four teacher types: one values affective and social objectives and promotes activities to understand factual knowledge, another type stresses activities intended to gain procedural knowledge and emphasizes application of practical tasks. The other two teacher types primarily focus on cognitive objectives, partly to reinforce conceptual knowledge, and partly to deepen understanding or improve strategies to enhance meta-cognitive knowledge. The degree of alignment between intended objectives and performed activity is higher among teachers promoting affective and social goals alongside meta-cognitive and analytical understanding, than teachers who use outdoor activities mainly to reinforce conceptual knowledge. The thesis shows that there is a range of possible learning goals in outdoor education and that teachers are guided by what they value and how they perceive learning.

Abstract [sv]

I Sverige finns ett växande intresse bland lärare att förlägga undervisning utomhus. Detta är kopplat till föreställningar om utomhusmiljöns potential för att stärka lärandet, eftersom mötet med naturen blir mer holistisk. Utomhus är alla sinnen involverade i kunskapsuppbyggnad och erfarenheter genom aktivitet. Enligt tidigare forskning kan lärande utomhus leda till förstärkning mellan lärandedomäner och ge en överbryggning till mer komplext lärande.

Denna avhandling, bestående av två delstudier, fokuserar lärarnas avsikter och pedagogiska mål med lärande utomhus och hur dessa pedagogiska mål genomförs i utomhusaktiviteter. Vidare undersökts överensstämmelse mellan lärarnas fördefinierade mål och de typer av kunskap och kognitiva processer som avspeglas i utomhusaktiviteterna.

Semi strukturerade intervjuer, vilka inkluderade beskrivningar av framgångsrika aktiviteter och reflektioner kring metaforer samt observationer har användes för att samla in data. Intervju transkripter har analyserats med hjälp av Halldéns teori om intentionell analys för att identifiera lärarnas intentioner med att förlägga lärande utomhus. Lärarnas mål i den kognitiva domänen har analyserats vidare med Blooms reviderade taxonomi.

Lärarna har en rad anledningar till lärande utomhus, vilka inkluderar att utöva teoretiska kunskaper genom upplevelsebaserat lärande, att utforska verkliga objekt med hjälp av flera sinnen, att stimulera positiva känslor för naturen, och främja samarbete. Det huvudsakliga syftet med att arrangera utomhuslärande är att skapa en alternativ lärandearena som ett viktigt komplement till klassrumsundervisningen, vilket bidrar till värden i elevernas inlärningsprocess. Lärarna använder en mängd olika utomhusaktiviteter.

Resultaten innehåller också en typologi av fyra lärartyper: en som värden affektiva och sociala mål och främjar aktiviteter för att förstå faktakunskap, en annan typ betonar aktiviteter som syftar till att få formella kunskaper och understryker tillämpning av praktiska uppgifter. De andra två lärartyperna fokuserar främst kognitiva mål, dels för att stärka konceptuella kunskaper, dels för att fördjupa förståelsen eller förbättra strategier för att förbättra meta-kognitiv kunskap. Graden av överensstämmelse mellan avsiktliga mål och utförda mål genom aktivitet är högre bland de lärare som främjar affektiva och sociala mål liksom meta-kognitiv och analytisk förståelse, än de lärare som använder utomhusaktiviteter främst för att förstärka konceptuella kunskaper. Avhandlingen visar att det finns en rad möjliga lärandemål i utomhusundervisning samt att lärarna styrs av vad de värderar och hur de uppfattar lärande.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2012. , 60 p.
Keyword [en]
Outdoors, teaching, knowledge, intentions, Bloom's taxonomy
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-56495ISBN: 978-91-7459-448-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-56495DiVA: diva2:535314
Presentation
2012-06-15, N460, Umeå universitet, naturvetarhuset, Umeå, 15:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-07-06 Created: 2012-06-19 Last updated: 2016-06-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Teachers' intentions with outdoor teaching in school forests: Skills and knowledge teachers want students to develop
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teachers' intentions with outdoor teaching in school forests: Skills and knowledge teachers want students to develop
2012 (English)In: NorDiNa: Nordic Studies in Science Education, ISSN 1504-4556, E-ISSN 1894-1257, no 1/12, 26-42 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is an interest among Swedish teachers to locate teaching outdoors. This study focuses on four teachers in grades 4-6, to explore their intentions and objectives with regular teaching outdoors. Data sources consist of semi-structured interviews, descriptions on successful activities, and reflections on metaphors.   The use of intentional analysis and Bloom’s revised taxonomy on teachers’ objectives show that the teachers stress the out-of-school learning that draws on the actual world and concrete material. Yet their objectives with these authentic experiences are diverse.  Two teachers have mainly cognitive objectives with a holistic view of knowledge where outdoor and indoor interact. To become knowledgeable, each individual student needs teaching in this proper context. The other two teachers primarily have affective objectives, in a dichotomy between learning theoretical knowledge indoors, and learning practical, concrete knowledge outdoors. They consider the outdoor arena as crucial for students with learning difficulties.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oslo: Naturfagsenteret, 2012
Keyword
Outdoor teaching, teachers, intentions, knowledge
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-56286 (URN)
Available from: 2012-06-21 Created: 2012-06-13 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. Teachers' intentions for outdoor learning: a characterisation of teachers' objectives and actions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teachers' intentions for outdoor learning: a characterisation of teachers' objectives and actions
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, ISSN 1694-2493, E-ISSN 1694-2116, Vol. 13, no 2, 208-230 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to examine nine Swedish teachers´intentions and educational objectives for outdoor learning, and how these educational objectives are implemented in outdoor activities. Further, the alignment between teachers´predifined objectives and the kinds of knowledge and cognitive processes reflected in the outdoor activities are investigated. The data sources consists of semi-structured interviews and observations. The intervirw transcripts were analysed using Haldéns theory of  intentional analysis to identify teachers' intentions when locating learning outdoors. Teachers´ objectives in the cognitive domain were further analysed by Bloom´s revised taxonomy. The teachers use a diverse set of outdoor activities. Our findings include a typology of four orientations: one that values affective and social objectives and promote activities to understand factual knowledge, another orientation focuses on activities intended to gain procedural knowledge and emphasizes application of practical tasks. The other two teaching orientations primarily focuses on cognitive objectives, partly to reinforce conceptual knowledge, partly to deepen understandings or improve strategies to enhance meta-cognitive knowledge. The degree of alignment between intended objectives and performed activity is higher among teachers promoting affective and social goals as well as meta-cognitive and analytical understanding, than teachers who use outdoor activities to mainly reinforce conceptual knowledge. The study shows that there is a range of possible learning goals in outdoor education and teachers are guieded by what they value and how they percive learning.

National Category
Didactics
Research subject
didactics of natural science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-118562 (URN)
Note

Originally published in manuscript form.

Available from: 2016-03-23 Created: 2016-03-23 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved

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