Phenomenon learning – accelerating students to enjoy physical activity in the Outdoors

Seppo JA Karppinen

The concept of Outdoor education and experiential learning has many advantages compared to subject based teaching in the classroom. Outdoor Adventure education or Seikkailukasvatus (in Finnish), can be an answer to the low physical activity of children and young people in our schools. Many pupils would enjoy recreational, independent physical activity without competition or performance. A park or a forest nearby can be a motivating and fascinating learning environment. The free space, fresh air and nature in the great Outdoors with a group of school mates offer interactive opportunities to use senses actively, to learn by visualizing, and in auditory or kinesthetic ways. Experiences gained by individual participants are, as they see them, special truths and “facts”, which then are presented in the reflection.

The phenomenon-based learning relating with physical activity can be a mixture of social learning, co-operation, languages, math, ethics, biology and physical education. Depending on the teacher’s didactic purpose and intention, it improves the mental and physical understanding of its relationships with and connections to the physical experiences and ideas. The experiential adventure-based teaching includes pedagogical and didactic acts, which mean that it is structured in a way that the teacher is responsible for providing students with physical activity experiences that are genuine, valuable, and which better enable the student to increase their personal development and condition. An essential aim of the phenomenon learning is to allow them to explore personal benefits of the physical activity: good health, better sleep or general wellbeing. The experiential learning, then, requires that the learner plays an active role with initiative, and that the experience is followed by reflection as a method for processing, understanding, and creating a deeper meaning of transferring it into everyday life.

Keywords: Seikkailukasvatus, Outdoor adventure education, Phenomenon learning by physical activity in the school

Outdoor activities with a didactic relationship to improve physical and sensory skills

Seppo JA Karppinen, PhD, is a researcher and teacher in Special education, Oulu. He has edited books Seikkaillen elämyksiä parts 1-3 and publishing a new book of Didactic of Outdoor adventure education in the fall 2019 (publisher: Humak, Nurmijärvi).

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