QMU's new short course in Outdoor Learning

By Press Office

The ongoing climate crisis and the recent Pandemic, which saw children forced into a long term of remote classes, continues to make clear the importance and the impact the natural world has on us. As part of Queen Margaret University’s ongoing commitment to be more sustainable and environmentally conscious, we are offering a bold new short course on Outdoor Learning.  

The three-month course will be available for primary, secondary school teachers or other professionals working in the teaching sector. This new course will give them the tools they need to integrate Outdoor Learning into their own learning practice.  

With face-to-face workshops delivered at the Queen Margaret University campus in Musselburgh both in the classroom and in our developing Outdoor Learning Hub, QMU’s focus is on giving teachers the skills they need to run their own workshops and creative classes and to think about outdoor spaces in a way that helps them integrate them into their day-to-day teaching practice.  This course focuses on aspects of leadership of drawing on experience of developing our outdoor spaces. 

Students on the new short course will benefit from 15 hours of face-to-face workshops and 15 hours of online lectures, debates and seminars. Learning will combine interactive face-to-face education supported by both synchronous and a-synchronous online resources.  

The course will be taught by experienced outdoor learning professionals including QMU lecturer, Patrick Boxall, a lecturer in initial teaching and the project leader for the QMU Outdoor Learning Hub, and educational leaders, practitioners and architects. 

At the end of the three-month course, students will be able to plan and deliver a small-scale project for Outdoor Learning, identify the different ways in which an existing site can be used or adapted for Outdoor Learning, understand the key pedagogies that underpin Outdoor Learning and communicate these ideas with expertise. 

Students will be graded on their proposal for a place for Outdoor Learning they developed over the course. Helping relate the course to their own circumstances and prepare them to take the skills they have developed and apply them to their own teaching experiences. 

"The natural world is central to our lives as human beings and has immeasurable positive impact on our health, wellbeing, and the sustainability of our planet. As educators we need to see the outdoors as a place to nurture our wellbeing, for creative learning across the curriculum, community connection and leadership development."
Patrick Boxall, Lecturer in Initial Teacher Education at QMU

“We are preparing different outdoor learning spaces and using digital platforms to extend our expertise in outdoor learning for more students, educators, community groups and professional partners in Scotland and beyond. The Hub will become a place to connect people and communities, to enhance our wellbeing, and a space for creative learning, research and professional development." 

The short course Outdoor Learning is part of Queen Margaret University’s bigger plans to extend the reach of the Outdoor Learning to more students, educators, community groups and professional partners in Scotland and beyond by developing the outdoor space around the campus. 

Danny Hunter, Principal Architect at Architecture and Design Scotland commented: “The new Outdoor Learning Hub will create a centre for local and national engagement in outdoor learning practice, leadership, and professional development. 

It will equip current and future teachers, community educators and volunteer leaders with the knowledge and skillset to confidently use outdoor spaces and places to enhance the learner journey of young people across Scotland.” 

The short outdoor learning course, which is ideally suited for educators and practitioners in schools and community settings will begin on March 5, 2023 and will last for three months. Candidates interested in the opportunities that Outdoor Learning represents can submit their application through the course page on the QMU website. Anyone applying to this course must be in an educational profession and make that clear in their application. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2023.  

The short course has an £800 fee. However, there are funding options available for Scottish residents who meet the relevant criteria.  

Notes to Editor

For further media information, contact John Gillespie, media relations and content officer, Queen Margaret University, E: jgillespie@qmu.ac.uk; and copy to E: pressoffice@qmu.ac.uk.