Henry Hepburn

Into the wild: how outdoor learning can transform education

Pupils who feel confined in the classroom and view it as a place of failure often excel when lessons are taken outside. Attending Scotland’s biggest ever learning event for schools, Henry Hepburn discovers how an open-air approach can transform the educational experience – whether it’s in a woodland, a meadow or even a car park

Outdoor learning can transform education

Two P6 groups from different schools have just been confronted with the same simple task – and their responses could hardly be more different.

With Arthur’s Seat looming behind them and the wind whistling though the grassy expanse of Holyrood Park, they are asked to pass a ball around in a circle as quickly as possible. The group going first “really struggles”, says Sean Barry, the outdoor learning expert who set the challenge. There is “a lot of jostling and distraction”, as pupils haphazardly grapple with the task, biting and curling their lips in indecision.

Then the group from the ...

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