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Louise Hawxwell

Abstract

Spending time in the outdoors has been shown to have a number of benefits, including those related to academic, health and well-being, and social factors. Teachers are in an ideal position to deliver outdoor experiences to the children they work with, therefore it is important that trainee teachers develop their knowledge and understanding of how to provide outdoor learning experiences and make use of outdoor settings in their teaching. In order to support trainees in making effective pedagogical decisions, it is important to establish their opinions of teaching and learning, including their views of outdoor learning. This article presents the findings from a small-scale research study exploring the perceptions of outdoor learning held by trainee teachers at the start of their Initial Teacher Training (ITT) primary education degree programme. Findings show that at this early stage of training, trainees held mixed views on outdoor learning; they were generally positive but also appeared to be apprehensive and cautious about specific elements related to outdoor learning. Trainees were also asked to make suggestions as to how they felt their degree programme could support them further in this area. The article also offers suggestions as to how ITT may support trainees in developing understanding and knowledge of outdoor learning to inform their practice as both a trainee and future primary school teacher.

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