Outdoor Learning Champions
  • Plymouth University

  • Plymouth University

  • Plymouth University

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This exciting new masters-level 7 programme has been carefully designed for all those in (or aspiring to) an outdoor learning leadership role within their workplace and more widely. 

The objective is to help you become an Outdoor Learning Champion by developing your skills in building a sustainable outdoor learning culture in your school or within your outdoor setting. The programme will help build your confidence as an advocate for outdoor learning in your own place of work and with colleagues, with other schools, with parents or Governors, and with funders and partners.

Programme details

  • Tutors: Caroline Leeson and Valerie Huggins, with support from the Natural Connections Demonstration Project.
  • Each session runs for four hours with breaks.
  • Cost: £150 - three sessions and all course materials. (There is a 20% discount for Natural Connections Schools, bringing the cost down to £120.)

Session 1 (7 October 2015): Outdoor Education

We will be joined by Dr Rowena Passy, lead researcher in the Natural Connections Project, and we will explore your visions and values around education and the role of the outdoors within these. We will look at what is understood by outdoor education and how it supports children's learning in order to develop a theoretical base for supporting our vision and values. We will begin to consider approaches for expressing our vision and values to others, and how you might establish your credibility as a champion for outdoor learning. We will discuss the challenges you encounter in developing outdoor approaches to learning. These challenges will help to inform the shape of the second session.

Session 2 (25 November 2015): Leading the Vision

Having established a vision for outdoor learning and explored the theory and evidence that supports this vision, we will consider further how we can share our vision with others and enthuse/encourage them to develop outdoor education. This will be linked to the management of change. We will pick up on the challenges that you have faced in adopting outdoor approaches to education and consider how different models of leadership and tools can be used to support others in developing their own outdoor learning environments. Using one of the change management/evaluation tools introduced in the session we will support you in analysing your own setting’s provision for outdoor learning.

Session 3 (3 February 2016): Coaching and Mentoring

We will look at different models of coaching and mentoring. We will share ideas about approaches to supporting the development of practice, for example ways of asking supportive questions. We will look at models for evaluating and reflecting on our own practice as well as working with others to support them in evaluating their practice. We will consider how evaluation and reflection become part of a continuous cycle that is always progressing and developing our practice. We will look at different approaches to reflection, including thinking about how we can incorporate using the outdoor environment in reflective processes.

Note: this programme is aimed at those working with primary age pupils. Attending all three sessions would be equivalent to one CPD day towards masters credits for those who wish to go on to masters study. 

Contact Ian Blackwell (tel: 01752 585396 / email: ian.blackwell@plymouth.ac.uk) for more information and to book a place.

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