Outdoor learning: Scottish primary teachers’ perceptions of training and professional development

Mattu, L., Wood, B. , Rinaldi, C. and Roberts, D. J. (2014) Outdoor learning: Scottish primary teachers’ perceptions of training and professional development. In: SERA Conference 2014: From Widening Horizons to a Worldview, Edinburgh, UK, 19-21 Nov 2014,

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Publisher's URL: http://www.sera.ac.uk/conference/


Outdoor learning has long been an important feature of Scottish education, but the non-prescriptive nature of the curriculum has contributed to wide variations in schools’ provision of outdoor educational experiences (Ross et al., 2007). Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) further encourages the use of the outdoors as a context for learning, but still does not make this mandatory (Beames et al., 2009). However, changes to the Standards for Teacher Registration require all teachers to demonstrate use of the outdoors in their teaching (GTCS, 2012).<p></p> As part of research exploring educational farm visits for primary school children, a survey of teachers in May 2013 included questions on teachers’ perceptions of knowledge and training on outdoor learning. The survey results informed a series of teacher interviews, during which these topics were also discussed.<p></p> The survey results indicate that primary teachers’ perceptions of their own training vary widely, while they tend to feel that probationer teachers are not well informed on outdoor learning. The need for further training and CPD was a clear theme in the qualitative elements of the survey, and early interview findings suggest that learning informally, from colleagues sharing their own experiences, is an important feature of teachers’ professional development.<p></p> Although “prospects for learning outdoors have rarely been better” than under CfE (Thorburn & Allison, 2013), survey findings indicate that previously identified issues around training and CPD (e.g. Nicol et al., 2007) seem to persist. Whether the views of teachers taking part in interviews support these early indications will be known by summer 2014.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Keywords:outdoor learning; ITE; CPD; primary teachers
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Rinaldi, Mr Carlo and Wood, Dr Bethan
Authors: Mattu, L., Wood, B., Rinaldi, C., and Roberts, D. J.
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Authors
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the authors

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
605911Mains of Loirston PhDBethan WoodMains of Loirston Charitable Trust (MOLCT)UNSPECIFIEDIS - INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES