Creek Speak April 2017 - Page 51

Should We Have Class Outside?

“Beyond the Classroom”

By Thomas Smith and Maddie Bush

Do you ever get bored in class? Do you ever wish you could be somewhere else? Do you ever get to that point where all you do is sit and look out the window wistfully? We have a solution for you. Imagine you could have classes outside. Seem impossible? Well in all reality, it’s entirely feasible.

There are many benefits to holding class outside, including, but not limited to:

Improved health

Helps to alleviate symptoms of ADD and ADHD

Enhanced environmental awareness

Better temperament towards the environment

Improved concentration

Improved memory

Improved imagination

And many others!

This list could go on with benefits of attending or hosting a class outside. There are unlimited benefits to taking part in a class outdoors. We had a chance to talk to a few people about having class outside, the first of those being Mr. Finnestead, the principal of Silver Creek High School. He was a huge supporter of having class outside, and even said: “I used to lead wilderness experiences with people.” So of course, a common interest between the three of us jump-started a lively conversation. We discussed our views and experiences regarding outdoor classes a little bit and he, Finnestead, even went on to say: ”Being able to go outside worked as a little pick-me-up.” However, it wasn’t just a pick-me-up for Finnestead, but for his students as well. He spoke for his students and said, “They are great, they get out and get fresh air”, but when asked how he felt, he responded with: “Oh I enjoy it, a little vitamin D from the sunshine. It’s a nice break from the everyday routine”. This statement is true, and breaking away from everyday routine is a good thing.

Although there are clear benefits to holding classes outdoors, some teachers are skeptical. We interviewed Mr. DeFilippo about his opinions and experiences with the great outdoors. He responded with: “My only experience is from teaching summer school. I took my class outside to do some reading, as soon as we went outside, they decided to start mowing the lawn with a very loud lawnmower. As soon as this happened students started to lose focus”. There is always the urge for students to get off track, which is something that can occur in and out of the classroom. “The idea is to keep control of your students no matter what setting you are in,” and Mr. DeFilippo had mentioned this when we interviewed him, which is a very valid point. He had said: “Classroom management is about as many classroom factors possible, and when you step outside, these factors start to go away.”