Friday, August 3, 11:00-11:30, SUB Ballroom D, Theme: Practice

The purpose of this research study was to learn how and why teachers included outdoor teaching in their classroom pedagogy. The basis for the study was that while significant research (Dillon, 2006; Malone, 2008; Rickinson, 2004) has shown the many ways students gain from outdoor education, and uncovered the issues teachers face when attempting to practice outdoor education, (Dyment, 2005), there is little research that examines the practices and motivations of teachers who successfully and consistently incorporate outdoor teaching in their pedagogy. The research design for this study was a multiple case study (Yin, 2014) of three exemplary teachers. Data collection included interviews, field observations, a demographic survey and curriculum artifacts. Data analysis shows that participating teachers developed curricula that maximized use of the attributes of each teachers’ school campus and surroundings. Further analysis indicates that teachers’ motivations stem from personal attachment to spending time outdoors, along with concern for their local environment and the environment in general. Teachers also spoke of being motivated by increased student learning and engagement, and observations of increased positive cognitive, behavioral and affective outcomes in their students. The significance of the study lies in the documented evidence of the practical methods teachers use and the deep commitment teachers have to maintaining outdoor teaching in their pedagogy. Recognition of how and why teachers incorporate outdoor teaching in their own specific circumstances can point the way to how to include outdoor teaching in rural teachers’ pedagogy.