Understanding Nature Pedagogy

Found in: SCEA News | Published on: 01 June 2016

Better Education Conference Workshop Led by Wendy Gorman and Samantha Wynne (AISWA)

Summary by Yan Xia Lim 

The outdoors can be avenues for learning, not just for sustainability, geography and science, but also for mathematics, history, literacy and other subjects.  Wendy and Samantha discussed the learning spaces: inside, outside (school garden or oval etc.) and beyond (beyond the school environment).

Nature pedagogy is an understanding of our sense of belonging to land and working with nature. It is learning with nature, not just teaching about it. Nature pedagogy comes in when we take the nature found outside into the inside and beyond. The learning outside is child led but the teacher then makes direct links in the classroom to what children did outside through P.L.O.D.s (possible line of directions). Nature pedagogy allows teachers to cover huge amounts of the curriculum in meaningful ways as students have huge interests in what they discover and learning becomes much bigger and deeper. It also allows teachers to cover cross-curriculum priorities as well. 

Samantha provided some examples and an example was that of students finding nests in the trees in the schoolyard, which were planted by the teachers. Yes, you can ‘plant’ the things you want students to find! From these nests, teachers directed students learning in:

·         Literacy – “Whose Nest?”

·         Science – “Who built the nests?” – different birds build different nests and not only birds build nests.

·         Art – students created their own nests, paintings of birds

·         Critical Thinking – students research on nests, one child decided to research on the nests of the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

·         Geography – construct the map of the nests students left at Bathers Beach.

 

If you like more information about nature pedagogy and how to use it effectively, Wendy and Samantha can come to your schools. Contact Wendy and Samantha at:

wgorman@ais.wa.edu.au

swynne@ais.wa.edu.au

Yan Xia Lim is a 2016 winner of SCEA's Aspiring Christian Educator Scholarship. A Master of Teaching student, Yan Xia is completing a practicum placement at Kalamunda Christian School in 2016.