Engaging and Learning with the Outdoors: The final report of the outdoor classroom in a rural context action research project

Lisa O'Donnell, Marian Morris, Mark Rickinson, Justin Dillon, Alan Reid, William Scott

17 February 2004

The research was carried out by a team from the NFER, King’s College London and the University of Bath. The aim was to extend research-based understandings of educational activities using the outdoor classroom in a rural context. More specifically, it focused on the processes and impacts and the planning and evaluation of outdoor learning. These issues were explored in three outdoor learning contexts: (i) school grounds and gardens; (ii) farms and city farms; and (iii) field study/nature centres. The study involved identifying case studies of effective practice, observing students and teachers at work in school grounds, on farms and in outdoor study centres across England. Part of the study involved action research with outdoor educators, and focus groups and seminars with leading proponents in their field. The work was undertaken during 2004 and the early part of 2005, and was funded by the Department for Education and Skills, the Countryside Agency, and Farming and Countryside in Education (FACE).

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