8 Reasons Learning Outside the Classroom Is Great

Grade 10 students make the most of a rainy day in Xi’an during their “Week Without Walls” in 2015. Creativity at work, powered by out-of-classroom learning experiences.

8 Reasons Learning Outside the Classroom Is Great

We have to face facts – the classroom is a very important place for youngsters during their time at school. It is the epicenter of learning; a kind of “headquarters” where they gather daily, hear from their teacher, do exercises, work in groups and more. Looking around an elementary school classroom, for example, we may see a storytelling area, resource zones, and all around are the fruits of the students’ endeavors displayed on the walls, and sometimes even hanging from the ceiling!

Yes, there is no doubt that the classroom at all levels represents a crucial space in which learning happens. But does it have to end there? According to the “Council for Learning Outside the Classroom,” it absolutely does not! Today we have prepared eight great benefits that your son/daughter can gain from out-of-classroom learning.

1) It can help tackle issues of social mobility.

Inspiring kids to reach higher and achieve something, like scaling a climbing wall for instance, can be a huge boost to their aspirations. Learners see how through effort and determination, they can achieve goals, thus raising their aspirations and, at the same time, equipping them with skills to become active and responsible citizens in the future.

2) Such activities can address education inequality

Not all children will automatically thrive in a traditional classroom environment. Heading outdoors to participate in alternative learning activities can help those students become more engaged and motivated to learn and understand the curriculum. It can also be a great help to self-esteem.

3) Being outdoors can contribute to raising standards in the classroom

Gaining a boost in self-esteem and engaging effectively with learning can result in a drop in truancy, an increase in attainment, improvement in discipline and more stable development socially and emotionally. Why would students want to miss out when they have discovered how fun and interesting learning can be? They will surely strive to do better so that they can keep doing it!

4) Being outside builds a profound connection to the natural world

Contact with nature helps students, especially younger students, build a better understanding of the world around them. There are certain nature experiences that are totally unique to the outdoors as well, such as direct contact with the weather and the seasons. These are things that can’t be experienced in the confines of a classroom.

5) It encourages a healthy lifestyle

When children go outside at a young age, they begin laying the foundations of a more active life that ultimately will help them guarantee better health. Fostering a love of physical activity and being outdoors instead of in front of the TV is important in the long term! For very young learners, outdoor activities also help them develop their gross and fine motor skills.

6) The outdoors are the best place for sensory learning

This is especially relevant for very young children, who principally learn through sensory and physical experience. Being outside and receiving the many stimuli of nature supports their brain development and the creation of neural networks.

7) It makes learning more relevant

When out of doors, there are dozens of opportunities to make learning concepts real and relevant by putting them in context. For example, is it more interesting for teenagers to learn about traditional Chinese theater from a textbook? Or, it is better for them to go into one of Beijing’s many museums and theaters to hear from performers, learn performance techniques on stage with a master, and even wear the costumes worn by the real actors and singers themselves? Perhaps a mixture of both is ideal. The knowledge can be acquired from a textbook, but then reinforced and shown in context with a field trip.

8) There are near-limitless resources on hand

Whether you’re a teacher or a parent looking to offer an interesting out-of-classroom learning experience for a child, there’s no need to break the bank! One step out of the door reveals a whole world of interesting resources, many of which are free!

When we take children outside regularly, we see the enjoyment and sense of wonder and excitement on their face. This is generated when students can more actively engage with their environment, and the same is so for learners of all ages, even adults!

The below gallery shows various images of BCIS students taking learning out of the classroom, and the video at the top is one made showing Grade 10 students on this year’s “Week Without Walls” trip to Xi’an, where they mad the most of the rain by creating a music video out of it!

Sources:

http://www.lotc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Benefits-for-Early-Years-LOtC-Final-5AUG09.pdf

http://www.lotc.org.uk/why/

http://www.creativeeducation.co.uk/blog/learning-outside-the-classroom/

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