In Denmark, the priority during the gradual reopening of Danish schools in April 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic has been getting the children outdoors as much as possible.
>> Read more: Danish schools back in session.
From April 15th 2020, Danish schools were back in session. The priority during the gradual reopening of Danish schools during the Covid-19 pandemic has been getting the children outdoors as much as possible, as recommended by the Danish Health Authority and the Danish Ministry of Children and Education.
When the teaching is moved outside the classroom to the school's outdoor areas or to the schools' local communities, it results in a changed framework of teaching. It also means that there are opportunities to use the environment actively during classes and that there are better opportunities for movement.
Far from all teachers have experience in delivering education outside the classroom. We want to support teachers so that they feel confident in this practice. Therefore, this online portal provides materials and links to be used as inspiration for education outside the classroom during the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Education outside the classroom’ (EOtC) or ‘school-based outdoor learning’ is teaching practised outside the classroom or outside the school buildings, sometimes on
regular basis (i.e. Udeskole), and is based on the curriculum goals. EOtC may take place in many settings, such as the school yard, nearby or distant nature areas, companies operating in the local community, museums, churches, recycling places, etc.
Ideally, there will be a connection between indoor and outdoor learning objectives. Lessons are prepared in the classroom prior to the outdoor sessions and pupils’ experiences of outdoor lessons are reflected on, when they return to the classroom.
Despite some scepticism and apprehension among some school leaders, teachers, pupils, and parents, there is a rapidly-expanding research base demonstrating the positive impacts on both pupils and teachers (e.g., please, see The TEACHOUT project for further details).
The researchers in Denmark behind the portal 'udeundervisning.dk' has been exploring elements within regular EOtC practices and pedagogies that appear to be particularly promising in ensuring successful outcomes. Example, regular use of EOtC have a potential to support explorative and inquiry-based teaching.
Despite increasing awareness about the benefits of regular use of EOtC, we appreciate that embarking on EOtC can be intimidating. We hope the portal udeundervisning.dk can provide some support in this regard.
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEACHOUT was a Danish quasi-experimental and cross-disciplinary research project running from year 2013 to 2017 in primary and lower secondary school. The aim of the study was to evaluate the impacts of the TEACHOUT intervention on pupils’ physical activity, well-being, and learning. Pupils from 18 primary and lower secondary schools in 46 classes were included in the study, of which pupils from 27 classes were taught one school year (2014 to 2015) based on the TEACHOUT intervention.
The effects of the TEACHOUT intervention at grades 3 to 6 were mainly analysed by comparing pupils who were regularly taught using EOtC to pupils taught as usual. In addition, the study investigated experienced EOtC teachers’ classroom management and practices in EOtC through qualitative case studies with interviews and observations.
The TEACHOUT intervention
The extent of the TEACHOUT intervention was equivalent to approximately 15% of school hours on a weekly basis or equivalent to 7% of children’s waking hours Monday through Friday.