Become a Natural Teacher & Transform the Definition of the Classroom
September 19, 2014
It feels good to be back in the classroom and teaching adult learners once again. I love the Fall because it holds wonderful memories of the first day of school. “Picturing Myself as a Teacher” is one of my favorite assignments in my Foundations of Early Childhood course. In this class students explore teaching options, philosophies in education, but most importantly, they are reflecting and shaping thier own teaching manefestos and vision of teaching.
The first assignment in this class is to write a reflective paper called, “Picturing Myself as a Teacher.” There are two parts to the assignment, a graphic picture and a written paper. Part one invites students to imagine they have been teaching for 3 years. They were asked to use pencils and crayons and a sheet of 12×18 paper and draw a picture of themselves teaching young children both inside and outside. Students were asked to include as many details and make it as colorful as they could.
Many of the students had never heard of “outdoor classrooms” and asked if this was a research paper. I explained that this was a reflective paper and to write and draw their current visions. At the end of the semester, we will write a second reflection paper and include everything we learned from taking this course. At the end of each paper students wrote a short reflection on what this paper was like to write. I asked questions like, “Had you thought of these things before?” and “Does creating a vision for your future help you?”
The concept of Outdoor Classrooms was a new one for many students. It was exciting for me to witness young, future teachers ignited to transform the definition of the classroom Some reflections include:
“ I had never heard about an “outdoor classroom” until this semester. I will be moving somewhere warm where I can get full use of the outdoors and teaching the kids about the environment.”
“I actually think about what my indoor classroom would look like more often than I thought, but now I am so excited to plan an outdoor classroom.”
“ I have never really thought about outdoor classrooms. I have always incorporated outside time for children, but I have never thought about having an outdoor space dedicated to learning.”
When I read the Children and Nature blog post called, “Igniting children’s imginations around the globe. A new breed of teachers is expanding the definition of green jobs” by Riley Hopeman, I was elated. I felt my little assignment part of a larger movement of educators rethinking classrooms.
I am now looking forward to what Reflection paper #2 brings. Come join the conversation at Outdoor-Classrooms.com and transform your definition a classroom!