Classrooms and Outdoor Learning
Classrooms have been used as the only way to acquire skills for many years. Students and instructors used these four-walled confinements to study and teach a number of subjects. However, studying in other settings besides the classroom presents a pupil with the most unforgettable learning experience. Learning in the classroom lets students make sense of the world around them, so they can relate their emotions and what they have experienced (Jelmberg, & Goodman, 2010). These experiences last even in adulthood and have a strong impact on their conduct, their job, and their way of life. To add to that, these memories impact on students' values and choices they make in their lives, thus enabling them to apply their learned knowledge in real life situations. This paper describes an event when reading or writing took place in an environment other than the classroom. It also explains the significance of this event.
A Memorable Experience in the Tropical Rainforest
It was one Saturday when my friends and I decided to visit a tropical rainforest near our school. It was on a weekend, so we had planned to go hiking and watching animal species in the forest. We took with us our class assignment on biodiversity. We had a memorable experience in vast areas of learning. To start with, we enjoyed warm and humid climate while in the forest. The canopies provided a protective cover from the scorching sun (Jelmberg, & Goodman, 2010). We also experienced a mixture of clear weather during the day and two hours of rain showers in the evening. Additionally, tropical thunderstorms were present as well as thunder and remarkable lightning.
Biodiversity and Learning in the Rainforest
The forest is a home to a myriad of species, mostly butterflies, monkeys, birds, and many other small species. Most of these animals and birds were rare species such as Baird's tapir, Harpy eagle, and ocelots, and therefore we had an unforgettable and fascinating educational experience to come across them. Furthermore, we there were a lot of plant species in the forest. Most of the trees were indigenous spaced closely to each other and very tall (Charner, Rein, & Roberts 2012). The canopy trees developed like poles with nearly no branches before their crown. We also encountered the local people who are subsistence farmers. These people obtain their meals from farming. They also do wild game to supplement their diet. We climbed the beautiful hills up to the peaks where we could have a spectacular view of the rainforest. We also enjoyed the jungles and were thrilled by raging waterfalls.
Significance of the Outdoor Learning Event
The hiking event was not only refreshing but also made learning more engaging. The weather was conducive where we could run, jog, and laugh as we expanded our knowledge of biodiversity and nature. We discussed endangered species both fauna and flora as per the assignment and compiled the assignment later in class. We were able to familiarize ourselves with concepts and real issues that we had learned in the classroom, therefore putting them in a realistic context (Jelmberg, & Goodman, 2010). In the classroom, we had only done our learning theoretically and here we were in physical contact with endangered species such as the Harpy eagle. Our understanding was deepened as we familiarized ourselves with the reality. Even those concepts that seemed difficult to understand in class became more comprehensive since the environment was more motivating and engaging to learn.
The nature walks and hiking nurtured our creativity and imagination. We felt like birds whose wings had been unclipped. Our minds were free for exploration and we ended up with a very clear understanding of the subject. We were able to see numerous bird species mentioned in class (Charner, Rein, & Roberts 2012). We also developed learning through experimentations especially on the nature walks and animal habitats. Also, we realized that the event improved class attendance since we felt more motivated to learn new things. As we interacted with nature, we were able to develop a great interest in the equatorial rainforest and the wider surroundings. We had a perfect opportunity to learn about our school locality and also a chance to mature as accountable citizens which is difficult to learn in the classroom.
Expanding Horizons through Outdoor Learning
Reading and writing outside the classroom exposed us to new opportunities. We got access to learning the ways of the local people. We were able to find out how they practice subsistence farming, their culture as well as their eating habits. We got a chance to see indigenous trees and rare animal species, an experience that can't be rubbed off our minds. Learning away from the confines of the classroom provides us with the opportunity to exercise our bodies (Charner, Rein, & Roberts 2012). The environment also provided us with fresh air. At the end of the day, we felt rejuvenated since the event helped in keeping our bodies healthy. It was an opportunity to appreciate unlimited resources which were free of charge. We learned so much with no supervision of the teacher. This was a clear indication that education can take place away from the classroom. Learning happens way better in the intangible environments and in un-memorized instants, in the forests, and everywhere.
Learning does not take place only in the classroom. It takes place everywhere; in the forest, in the playground, and in any other place away from the confinement of the classroom. Outdoor learning is refreshing and makes learning more engaging. It nurtures students' creativity and imagination as well as making students more engaging than when they are in class. It provides students with an opportunity to familiarize themselves with real issues learned in the classroom and motivates them to learn new things.
Charner, K., Rein, M. B., & Roberts, B. (2012). Let's take it outside! Teacher-created activities for outdoor learning. Lewisville, NC: Gryphon House.
Jelmberg, J. R., & Goodman, G. S. (2010). The outdoor classroom: Integrating learning and adventure. Cresskill, N.J: Hampton Press.