The nature of learning in Nature

I’m weary and sore and absolutely happy after two days in the outdoors with a great group of young people. I am drawn to nature especially water but I’ll take anything over being land locked. So to be given the opportunity to get out of the office and ‘go to the beach for a couple of days’ is a no brainer as my heart is already there and she rules these days.

I’m not sure if I still feel like a teacher in the traditional sense. But one of the few things I know for sure (perhaps) is that teaching about nature and the environment has to be done whilst being part of it. The ultimate class – room is a room without walls, where the elements and responding to these require our attention. What is needed is a reintegration of experiential learning and with schools being driven more and more towards assessment education has become a train on a track that just keeps moving and we watch the world pass by at great speed.

Add the distraction of technology in and we have added another layer of disembodiment of experience. So whilst we were doing things in an amazing place, the constant pulling out of phones to play music, send instagram messages, or just take photos did shock me a little. There was a sense at times of ‘going through the motions’ of the activity at times with the real emphasis being on how this would be communicated with the ‘outside world.’ I also noticed myself being tempted by this and was almost grateful when my phone battery died. If a phone or ipod or any other kind of device is ‘out’ and being used – no matter how innocuously – it seems to bubble wrap the user in another world. Almost like in a dream world where they are there but just out of reach.

All we really need to do is to stop and notice. Yes it is that simple. ‘Stars in their eyes’ shouldn’t just be remembered as a TV programme but the wonderment of sitting or lying under the night sky. World wide webs are also the products of spiders, and it would be great travesty if the only form of ‘tweeting’ any of us appreciated was of the #tag kind.

And while I am on a roll with over using double entendre, ‘surfing’…is best done on waves made of water.


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