19 September 2012
I get very frustrated when people ignore the value of learning outside the classroom and seem to want to relegate it to nothing more than the pink and fluffy side of education. The bit you do once the 'proper' teaching and learning is done.
Let's not forget that some of our most significant and important scientific and mathematical discoveries were made by amazing people observing what happens in the natural environment. We stand on the shoulders of giants when we teach outdoors.
To quote Einstein - "Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better"
Fibonacci used the example of the breeding patterns of rabbits to describe how the mathematical Fibonacci sequence is used.
Sir Isaac Newton, whilst not actually having a bump on the head from an apple, did indeed observe the trajectory of apples along the perpendicular and used this observation to draw the conclusion that there must be some kind of gravitational force.
Charles Darwin described the honeycomb as a masterpiece of engineering that is "absolutely perfect in economising labour and wax"
In nature we see worked examples of all sorts of curriculum programmes of study - a tree is a perfect example of fractals - and what better way of securing the concept in children's minds by showing this to them rather than relying on them getting the same deep and rich understanding from paper or a web search.
And let's not forget nature's inspiration for some of our most amazing pieces of music - Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, Sans Saen's Carnival of the Animals, The words in the choral section of Beethoven's 9th, Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
Poetry too - I wonder what Wordsworth's piece might have been like had it been written from within a school building...
I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That stores my documents o'er server and web
When all at once I saw a crowd
Of children sitting in a classroom
Beside the desks, inside the walls
Confined by roofs and corridors
Covered up. These stars might shine
And twinkle if allowed outside
But they sit in never ending line
Throughout their pen and paper day
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Learning by rote inside the class