Sunday, October 09, 2011

Teaching in Nature

Winter Shadows
Winter Shadows - Muir of Dinnet.
SNH Commissioned Report 476: Teaching in nature
"SNH has a remit for people's enjoyment and understanding of the natural heritage as well as the care of it. The potential for the educational use of National Nature Reserves (NNRs) (and similar 'wild' places for nature) is not well understood. This research was designed to enable practicing teachers from primary and secondary schools to collaboratively explore how National Nature Reserves could be used to provide for learning across a range of subject areas. This work was conducted within the context of the new national curriculum initiative in Scotland, Curriculum for Excellence."
Why am I blogging about this? Well, for the past 2 years I've been involved with this project as one of the participating teachers. I got a lot out of it - the expertise and insight of people like Brian Spoor and Catriona Reid from Scottish Natural Heritage and Dr Greg Mannion from Stirling University. I've also had the privilege of an evening with Lorne Gill, SNH photographer as he talked through a selection of his stunning photographs, not to mention a slap-up meal and evening at Murrayshall House Hotel in Scone.

Most of all though, great walks and visits to Muir of Dinnet and the Burn o' Vat with groups of kids - seeing how they experience, interact and learn in an outdoors environment has been fantastic fun. There's not enough of this kind of teaching being done. I only wish that I could have found the time to make a larger contribution to the project than I was able to.

If you want to know more, SNH has just produced the final report. It is available on their site here. There's also a companion website for the project which contains more information, and has audio and video from some of the site visits. It can be found here.

The pictures that accompany this post were taken in February 2010 during the cold snap. It was around -10c that day. Chilly but made for some great photos!

Parkin's Moss I
Parkin's Moss, Muir of Dinnet - February 2010
Parkin's Moss II
Parkin's Moss, Muir of Dinnet - February 2010
Parkin's Moss III
Parkin's Moss, Muir of Dinnet - February 2010


Plumbago said...

Excellent. This is a great idea. Nature is a lot easier to convey when you're standing in it. And I'm sure that the kids get more from it than just an appreciation of nature - it's a chance to interact with fellow pupils in quite different circumstances and setting. What's more, it's probably the only time that some kids will ever get out into it - not everyone has parents who're interested in the outdoors, or have transportation to get to it. Admittedly, it's probably a little easier in Alford.

Plumbago said...

Oh, and great photographs too! :-)