Tuesday, July 15, 2014

‘Dirty Teaching’ offers great outdoor leaning tips to teachers

While this blog focuses on parents getting their children into the outdoors on hiking trails, the effort to “Leave no child indoors” need not be limited to parents. Public and private school systems alike have an obligation to build physically and psychologically stronger youth by ensuring students enjoy all the benefits that the outdoors offers.

A new book, “Dirty Teaching: A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Outdoors” by Juliet Robertson (Independent Thinking Press), offers a number of useful tips and activities to help teachers do just that.

At 200 pages long and chock full of color pictures, the book is easy to navigate with its bulleted articles, checklists, and the smart use of typography to delineate sections. Like the USA Today newspaper of old, chapters even are color-coded.

More importantly, though, is the book’s solid content. The introduction focuses on the benefit of outdoor learning while Chapter 1 jumps in with the basic principles of holding class outside. Chapter 2 moves on to what teachers should do with children to prepare them before they even head outdoors. The next several chapters offer an array of activities teachers can manage their students through; among them are thinking, reflecting, reviewing, creating, constructing, exploring, and caring for nature.

Robertson certainly is well-versed to write the book. An education consultant who specializes in outdoor learning and a former principal and teacher, she writes the blog “I’m a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here!”

As Robertson is British, some of the book’s wording reflects the education system in the U.K., but that doesn’t reduce its relevance for American, Canadian, Australian or other English-speaking countries. Robertson’s focus is on children learning outdoors, and her useful advice and activities transcends cultures.

Find out about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.