Communications & Media

Changing landscape of a ‘no walls classroom’ explored in national conference

The changing landscape of a ‘no walls classroom’ and its numerous benefits for enhancing educational outcomes will be explored this week in Hobart.

The biennial National Outdoor Education Conference will host more than 250 teachers, researchers, instructors and tourism guides from across Australia and overseas over the next four days.

Discussion will surround the latest approaches to outdoor education, under the theme, ‘Wisdom of the Past – Exploring the Future’.

“The approach to outdoor education has changed significantly over the years,” conference co-convenor and University of Tasmania Faculty of Education Senior Lecturer Dr Janet Dyment said.

“Traditionally, outdoor education involved a remote setting where students gained tactile skills surrounding risk, adventure, social and interpersonal development.

“Nowadays, the approach is far different.

“Outdoor education is now viewed as a ‘no walls classroom’ where subjects including English and history are taken outdoors.

“This approach not only provides contextual learning, but recognises and supports the way students approach learning in different ways and applications.

“This year’s conference will look at the traditions of outdoor education, and where they intersect with practices and approaches now.”

The conference will host sessions on environmental education, social justice, sustainability education and local place-based education.

Keynote speakers and presentations for the event include:

·        Dr Mary Breunig (Brock University, Canada), pictured – ‘A Sense of Hope – How and Why Outdoor Educators Need to Develop their Cultural and Social Justice Competencies’;

·        Dr Mark Leather (Outdoor Educator, Plymouth Marjon University, UK) – ‘A Critique of Forest Schools: Something Lost in Translation’;

·        Dr Allen Hill (ARA Institute of Canterbury, Aotearoa New Zealand) – ‘Wisdom of the Past – Exploring the Future: Opportunities, Dilemmas and Tensions for Outdoor Educators’.

Former state and federal politician Dr Bob Brown will provide the closing keynote address.

The conference is being hosted by Outdoor Education Tasmania and will be held from 9-12 April at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart.

Published on: 09 Apr 2018 3:34pm