Thursday, November 14, 2013

Outdoor Activities For Schools - A Valuable Learning Experience

The importance of education cannot be overemphasised. Shaping the minds of young people is a tremendous responsibility, and today's educators perhaps have a more difficult job than ever before with the myriad of distractions that surround today's youth.While classroom teaching is likely to always form the backbone of the educational system, the formality of traditional teaching does not suit every pupil. Although many students do flourish in the classroom environment, other pupils can feel smothered by it and never seem to reach their full potential.It should be remembered that education is not just limited to academic subjects. A fully comprehensive education should also seek to introduce young people to the kinds of life skills that will stand them in good stead when they leave school and enter the wider world.Teaching skills like leadership, teamwork, self-belief, communication and responsibility can be difficult in a classroom setting. This is where outdoor activities for schools can really come into their own.Throughout the UK, there are many outdoor activity centres where children and young people can engage in valuable and exciting activities such as rock climbing, gorge jumping, orienteering, abseiling and canoeing.Activities such as these bring teaching out of the classroom and take it into the great outdoors, where a multitude of lessons can be learned. The role of the educator in this context is not to explicitly teach the students, but rather to let the learning experience evolve naturally from the students themselves.The educator should closely observe the interactions between the young people and look to see how they work together to complete the task they have been given, stepping in only occasionally to accentuate or praise aspects of the group's behaviour when they exhibit positive teamwork or communication skills.Many students who are uncomfortable in the classroom can really come into their own through this type of group outdoor activity. Finally freed from the constraints of traditional learning exercises, these individuals suddenly find themselves in an environment that demands very different skills from those needed in the classroom.Conversely, pupils who are completely at home in the classroom may find themselves utterly out of their depth in this kind of practical learning scenario. This, too, can be a useful learning experience for them, teaching them that in different situations, different skill sets are required, and that individuals who excel in one arena may struggle in another.

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