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The exploration of children’s learner identities while experiencing outdoor learning in the Irish primary school context

Rafferty, Rachel orcid logoORCID: 0009-0004-9272-9946 (2024) The exploration of children’s learner identities while experiencing outdoor learning in the Irish primary school context. Master of Arts thesis, Dublin City University.

The aim of the Irish primary school curriculum is to develop the child holistically (DES, 1999) in both indoor and outdoor environments (NCCA, 2023). Outdoor Learning is a form of nature pedagogy. The benefits of Outdoor Learning align with the competencies needed for Learner Identity. Learner Identity can be described as how a child views themselves as a learner (Kolb & Kolb, 2012; Lawson, 2014). This research sought out to explore how Outdoor Learning develops Learner Identity competencies in children through the views of the child. This research employed a qualitative methodological approach. Data collection methods aimed to capture the child’s voice and were in keeping with everyday classroom activities. These included: children’s reflections; focus group interviews; researcher fieldnotes and teacher reflections. I took on the role of teacher as researcher throughout the study. Data was analysed through thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2022). The findings indicate that children showed the development of Learner Identity competencies of self-esteem, self-awareness, confidence, relationship skills, motivation to learn, and problem-solving skills during Outdoor Learning. Concluding that the benefits or competencies gained from Outdoor Learning occur because of the embodied learning, autonomous learning, relational learning, and reflective learning that Outdoor Learning provides for learners. Recommendations for research from this study include exploring and comparing children’s Learner Identities in indoor and outdoor learning environments; the longevity of Learner Identity; Outdoor Learning in the primary curriculum; and teachers’ identities during Outdoor Learning. Recommendations for policy include the professional development of teachers in Outdoor Learning as the curriculum framework (NCCA, 2023) rolls out. Finally, recommendations for practice include the introduction of thematic learning; time and space for learning; and the importance of listening and hearing the children we teach (Lundy, 2007).
Item Type:Thesis (Master of Arts)
Date of Award:March 2024
Supervisor(s):Coulter, Maura and Bryan, Audrey
Subjects:Social Sciences > Education
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Institute of Education > School of Arts Education & Movement
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License. View License
ID Code:29341
Deposited On:22 Mar 2024 11:56 by Maura Coulter . Last Modified 22 Mar 2024 11:56

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