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The second community of practice of the UNI-T project focused on the thematic of Outdoor Education. For this special event, the University La Sapienza has been invited to organise this second community of practice, both online and in the splendid Italian capital, Rome from October to December 2023.

The first online meeting took place on October 4th 2023. A first meeting which allowed the participants and the partners to lay the foundations for the theme of this community of practice, i.e. defined the concept and its multiplicity according the group, the type of education, the methodology used and the environment.

One observation in particular was made during these initial discussions: based on the work of David Kolb and David Sobel, outdoor education is not a method but an approach. It was important to reaffirm the fact that education does not necessarily take place in the classroom, and that it is increasingly necessary to go beyond the “traditional school box”.  In fact, “the classroom can be seen as a specific setting of educational and learning relationship”.

Hence, the «Environment can be seen as a co-protagonist into the learning processes» (R. Farné). One of the conclusions of this first meeting was about the meaning of “Going outdoor” which is, in reality, “to get out of yourself looking for the «otherness» as a possibility of learning and growing”.

The participants have also reflected on the implementation of Outdoor Education: how can we try to redefine the teaching method? How can we adapt them? but also how to organise class time outdoors, in practical terms? and how to make the environment suitable for learning?

The group reached a consensus on the fact that there are no inadequate spaces, either inside or outside the school, it is important to remain creative and clarify the education intentions. The “outdoor” is not only an object, teaching and learning support but also a context for teaching and learning, a kind of open-air classroom.

In sum, the heart of the implementation of “Outdoor Education” would be to adapt the way we understand teaching and to seek inspiration to make this object and context of teaching applicable.

The second meeting took place in the city of Rome from October 26th to October 28th 2023. During this three-day meeting, the partners had the opportunity to participate to workshops, get to know each other but also, in the line of the Community of Practice’s thematic, to share on interdisciplinary activities and outdoor practices. This first day was centred around outdoor education for adults and well being and our relation with our bodies.  

The second day, the participants went to the High School Cavour, specialised in outdoor education since the Post Covid period and accompanied with a high school class, they visited the Roman Forum.

Later, they went to the Marymount Institute, an associated partner to the UNI-T project to discover their educational practices and their system.  On the same day, they met Amy Bivin who presented the Climate Action Project.

For the last day, the participants came back to the Marymount Institute to collaborate on a transdisciplinary activity and shared a final moment of conviviality.

During this face-to-face meeting, the partners have reflected once again on the outdoor education: how to organise the activities, use the nature at our advantage and use the space as a teaching tool.

Even though the outdoor education promotes reconnection with nature as well, the issue is also to transpose activities carried out indoor, outdoor. However, the outdoor can still be helpful to change the teaching environment, to surprise and even motivate.

The outdoor education can also broaden school activities, tackling other themes and have several qualitative effects such as collaboration between students, collaboration between them and their teacher, increase knowledge of their environment and development cooperation learning.

However, there are still questions that are pending: how to collaborate with the other actors (parents, head of schools)? how to communicate about this thematic? and how to integrate it in the school timeline?

The third and last meeting took place online on December 13th 2023 for a moment of review and recap on the latest meetings and served as a conclusion of this second community of practice. During this last meeting, the participants reflected on the future of Outdoor education in their own country and schools and the limit of its implementation.

This was also the occasion for the teachers who already experienced this teaching method to give final advices on how to adapt this method to the traditional system, what are the keys to make it work and give some suggestions of activities to conduct. This last meeting also provided an opportunity to look back at the activities carried out during the first online meeting and to give conclusion based on the experience lived.

Discover below more photos of this second community of practice…

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