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Title: (see: http://www.aries.mq.edu.au/ Tilbury, D., Coleman, V.


1
Learnscapes as Pedagogical Tools Understanding
Teachers Levels of Use.
  • Keith Skamp
  • Centre for Children Young People
  • School of Education
  • Southern Cross University
  • Lismore, NSW, Australia

2
Formal School EE in Australia
  • EE for a Sustainable FutureNational action Plan
    (2000)
  • National EE policy (to be released 2005)
  • EE is non-mandatory in all states except NSW
  • EE Policy for Schools (NSW DET 2001)
  • EE mainly the focus in Science Studies of
    Society Environment KLAs (subjects)
  • Action and value outcomes (for the environment)
    not a feature in school KLA curricula
  • Sustainability concepts underrepresented in
    curricula
  • Whole school approaches to EfS are increasing
    (e.g., Sustainable Schools Program in NSW) but
    mainly primary level
  • (continued next slide)

3
Formal School EE in Australia
  • Examples of citizen science occur (e.g., GLOBE/
    Streamwatch)
  • EE Centres are in all States (but rarely
    researched) some using sustainability
    concepts, e.g., ecological footprint
  • Partnerships are increasing (e.g., between
    councils and schools) encouraged by grants. Waste
    Wise Schools (Victoria) is an example.
  • EE not a core element in preservice teacher
    education.
  • (see http//www.aries.mq.edu.au/ Tilbury, D.,
    Coleman, V., Garlick, D. (2005). A National
    Review of Environmental Education and its
    Contribution to Sustainability in Australia
    Formal Education. Report prepared by Australian
    Research Institute in Education for
    Sustainability (ARIES) for the Department of the
    Environment and Heritage, Australian Government.)

4
Implementation of EE in NSW
  • State EE Council responsible for
  • NSW Government EE Plan, Learning for
    Sustainability. The Council oversees EE across
    the State.
  • (www.environment.nsw.gov.au/cee)
  • Environmental Education Policy for Schools (NSW
    DET, 2001) and an associated support document.
  • EE is an across the curriculum orientation
  • Schools must have a SEMP (School Environmental
    Management Plan) which embraces three EE foci
    curriculum, management of resources and
    management of school grounds.
  • Learnscapes has been an initiative
  • Evaluation of implementation of NSW DET Policy
    (2005) suggests curriculum is the weak link.

5
Context for the Learnscape research
  • In NSW
  • Sustainable Schools Program encourages school
    ground development (accreditation being trialled)
  • Learnscapes An aid to implementing your School
    Environmental Management Plan (NSW DET, 2004)
    argues learnscapes can be part of SEMPs
  • See website www.curriculumsupport.nsw.edu.au/envir
    oed/index.cfm for NSW EE initiatives.

6
Learnscapes are
  • spaces and places in and near school grounds
    that provide a forum for hands-on learning
    experiences related to environmental education
  • usually thought of as being designed to permit
    users to interact with an environment and
  • may be natural or built, interior or exterior
  • (Extracts from NSW DET EE Curriculum Policy for
    Schools and its support document, 2001)

7
Learnscape programs
  • Are intended to integrate with the various Key
    Learning Areas (KLAs)
  • Should address syllabus learning outcomes,
    including the objectives of environmental
    education, especially ecological sustainability
  • The involvement of the whole school and its
    community in their design and maintenance is
    encouraged.
  • (Extracts from NSW DET EE Curriculum Policy for
    Schools and its support document, 2001)

8
Implicit theory underpinning learnscapes
  • Not explicit in NSW DET documents although they
    expect teachers to use them as pedagogical
    tools (NSW DET, 2004, p.2)
  • Underlying theory(ies)
  • Consistent with
  • Place-based education
  • (e.g., Woodhouse Knapp, 2000 Orr, 1994)
  • Teachers to use Learnscapes affordances for
    (ecological and other) learning affordance is
    integral to a learnscapes nature as built with
    students characteristics in mind
  • (Malone Trantor, 2002)
  • Experiential learning is implied.
  • Education about, in and for the environment
  • Education about and for sustainability

9
Aim of the study
  • To investigate teachers self-reported practice
    of learnscapes at a primary school renown for its
    learnscapes (over a two year period)
  • (14 LS were noted by its Learnscape Coordinator,
    the most well known by the staff being the
    rainforest, outdoor classroom and the rice
    paddies)
  • A previous study (Environmental Education
    Research, 7 (4), 2001, 333-358) identified
    commonalities in perceptions related to the
    effect of learnscapes on teaching and student
    learning in general and then across Key Learning
    Areas (KLAs) and Environmental Education (EE), in
    particular.

10
Conceptual framework for research questions
  • Use of learnscapes as a pedagogical tool is an
    educational change it requires most teachers to
    learn to do something differently (Hoban, 2002,
    p.164)
  • Different because teachers
  • Rarely teach outdoors
  • Do not focus in environmental education outcomes

11
Conceptual framework for research questions
(cont.)
  • Educational change is a complex system comprised
    of many interdependent change frames and the
    processes connecting them
  • (see Figure 2.1)
  • Teacher learning is a change frame within this
    system. It implies that teacher learning is
    both cognitive and social and distributed among
    influences on learning (see Figure 2.2) and
    influenced by different actions (e.g.,
    reflection)
  • Classroom change begins with teachers examining
    their beliefs about practice
  • CBAM Model
  • It represents theories of the learning process
    teachers go through as they gain knowledge and
    develop skills in using new ideas and practices
    (Anderson, 1997, p.360).
  • Not as encompassing as Complexity Theory model
    (Hoban ,2002)

12
Research questions
  • How has the availability of learnscapes impacted
    on the pedagogy of individual teachers?
  • What factors help in understanding the pedagogies
    that particular teachers have adopted?
  • (Factors are seen as interdependent, associated
    with change frames and not related to change in
    a mechanistic cause-effect way)

13
Perspective used with these research questions
  • Interpreted use of Learnscapes as a pedagogical
    tool to be change/ innovation
  • Can then ask
  • Do teachers understand why the change was
    introduced and how to use the
    change/innovation?
  • Is there a connection between teacher concerns
    and understanding and regularity of use of an
    innovation?
  • What change frames are impacting on use of the
    innovation?
  • To respond to the two research questions applied
  • Hall and Hords (1987) Stages of Concern
    categorisation of teachers levels of concern
    when dealing with curriculum change (table 1)
  • Dlamini, Rollnick and Bradleys (2001) two
    typologies of teacher change, related to (a)
    teachers level of understanding of an innovation
    and (b) their mode(s) of using the innovation
    (table 1).
  • Hobans (2002) complexity theory of change

14
Stages of Concern, Hierarchy of Understanding
Typology of Utilisation
15
Research Procedures
  • Research perspective
  • An interpretive perspective because aim was to
    understand teachers decisions and insights
    (derived from how teachers see their world).
  • Methodology
  • Phenomenological in nature in that author saw
    opportunity to explore an innovation within a
    school, and the teachers uses of an innovation.
  • Research questions emanated from reflection upon
    teachers responses from an initial study and
    then further responses at a later time. Research
    questions then determined the direction of the
    analysis.
  • Method
  • School was a purposeful selection Teachers and
    principal were all volunteers (all 8 first 7
    second, including 2 not teaching or available for
    first interview M and A)
  • Semi-structured interviews ( background about
    school/some observations) use of learnscapes,
    their impact on teaching/learning (then probe
    KLA/EE learning)
  • Analysis not by coding but development of
    interview narratives related to learnscape use
    and then interpreted using typologies and change
    frames
  • Credibility initial interview interpretations
    validated by teachers similar independent
    interpretations principals views consistent
    description thick/audit trail available
    negative instances sought and reported.

16
What was found? Two years on
  • OVERALL
  • Two infrequent users four moderate to regular
    users
  • LS were perceived more as places where KLA
    learning could occur outdoors rather than as
    locations where EE outcomes were purposively
    pursued (only 3 of 6 teachers referred to EE
    spontaneously in interviews)
  • Re Categorising these teachers perceived use
  • A teachers level of use, understanding and stage
    of concern depended upon which of these
    interpretations was used.
  • Grouped the six teachers according to their use
    of learnscapes as outdoor teaching and learning
    areas, irrespective of whether pedagogical
    emphases focussed on KLA or EE outcomes.
  • (when teachers used learnscapes with
    environmental learning outcomes in mind this has
    been noted)

17
Categorisation of teachers re their concerns,
understanding and use of learnscapes
18
Details of how these teachers were classified
along the three continua are on the following
slides If there is time details about the six
teachers and their principal will be shown If
not will move to assertions and conclusions
19
A struggler trying to move forwardNerida
  • Nerida had used the outdoor areas a couple of
    times in the second year, and despite some
    initial success it is not a regular occurrence.
  • Personal Level of Concern. She repeatedly
    expressed personal concerns about her ability to
    manage her kindergarten class beyond the
    classroom- this seemed to be related to her
    belief that she thought her children perceived
    that they were not learning when outside.
  • Utilisation Understanding Level. Could describe
    outdoor teaching techniques.
  • There are positive signs that Nerida is
    progressing, e.g., she was starting to recognise
    differences with teaching using learnscapes.
  • Her occasional use of learnscapes seemed to be
    focussed on achieving learning outcomes in
    particular KLAs (e.g., a language walk
    illustrating concepts like through and
    under), but there was no overt emphasis on EE
    outcomes.
  • Nerida appeared to believe that simply being in
    the school would assist students in developing a
    caring environmental attitude (e.g., planting
    their tree in kindergarten and watching its
    progress).
  • An apparent contradiction in Neridas limited use
    of learnscapes was that she described herself as
    an outdoors person this, though, may be a
    factor in her ongoing desire to use the outdoors
    more.

20
A struggling domesticator still with management
concerns but a keen EE outlook
  • Annalee used the learnscapes infrequently but had
    a stronger orientation towards EE outcomes (but
    not necessarily outside the classroom).
  • Was mainly focussed on her management concerns
  • Utilisation knowledge level as she does describe
    how teaching outdoors tends to equalise you a
    little bit as you are not the teacher at the
    front of the class outside learning keeps us
    all on the one playing field feeling.
  • Of especial interest is Annalees strong
    environmental orientation while realising her
    inability to translate that into practice
    (compared herself to Chris teaching).
  • Her class experience EE vicariously and Annalee
    knew it.

21
Succeeders bordering on innovatorsLauren
  • Lauren now a regular user of the school
    learnscapes- currently she was outside with
    every lesson with year 4 interesting case as
    she was only teaching music and drama.
  • There was a focus on the consequences for student
    learning when using learnscapes
  • Being in a situation like that (the
    learnscapes) the children are possibly more
    forthcoming with what they talk about and what
    ideas they come up with. I think the environment
    theyre in encourages more broader thinking by
    looking, feeling, imagining it not being there-
    that sort of thing. Maybe they become more
    involved in discussion.
  • Uses learnscapes as you need it, to achieve
    curriculum purposes, and which could not have
    been done nearly as effectively otherwise
  • At the personalization knowledge stage, as she
    applies her (apparent) outdoor teaching
    strategies to whatever subject she is teaching,
    and they have become part of her teaching style.
    She never mentions management concerns.
  • Interesting in a number of ways
  • EE was part of her music and drama-in an
    incidental but semi-regular way
  • Notable because she was not involved in the LS
    development.

22
Succeeders bordering on innovators Kate
  • Kate is more definitely placed at the succeeder
    moving towards innovator level of use.
  • One of three teachers (with Chris and Marianne)
    who referred to the value of learnscapes for EE
    before it was raised in the interviews.
  • At the consequence stage of concern, as she
    regularly focussed on the impact of using the
    outdoors to obtain a greater impact on her
    students KLA learning and she saw as important
    just making them (children) aware that the
    school is not just the school classroom. You can
    have a classroom outside and do lots of learning
    in the learnscape areas.
  • With respect to EE Kate spoke of a general
    environmental awareness. She contrasted trying to
    engage students about snow before an excursion of
    the snowfields (and how very very difficult it
    was) versus not having to go to a rainforest (for
    similar learning purposes) because it was a
    school learnscape
  • Apart from Chris, Kate was the only teacher who
    articulated her specific environmental knowledge.
    (cont next slide)

23
Succeeders bordering on innovators Kate (cont.)
  • At the personalisation knowledge level. She
    appeared to be able to apply her outdoor (and to
    some extent, her EE) teaching strategies to
    whatever subject she was teaching, and these
    strategies had become part of her everyday
    teaching
  • (Learnscapes are mentioned in her teaching
    programs but emphasises that learnscapes are used
    informally as well).
  • Kate indicated the many ways that you could teach
    using learnscapes a teacher directed or
    student directed way. This would suggest both
    formal and informal production knowledge, as able
    to incorporate learnscapes in a range of learning
    situations however this probably does not apply
    to the use of learnscapes for EE purposes.

24
The innovators- at personal level Marianne
  • Marianne, a long term casual teacher at the
    school particularly liked outdoor education.
  • At the consequence stage of concern cited
    numerous instances of the positive effects of
    outdoor learning with her classes. For example,
    in a unit on minibeasts
  • (but what is)more rewarding is the impact
    it has on children. I see children that cannot
    succeed for one reason or another inside the four
    walls of a classroom suddenly be engaged in such
    a spontaneous way with learnscapes. For instance
    we were out collecting slaters the other day and
    a little (year 4) child came up who has never
    spoken to me before- he came up to me
    spontaneously and just told me what a wonderful
    activity it was to go searching for slaters in
    the rainforestto me that is reallyenough. cont
    next slide

25
The innovators- at personal level Marianne (cont)
  • She continued that you can see it (the excitement
    and the learning) in their faces
  • those children who, for instance, havent
    experienced success before, or not much of it,
    experiencing success out in the environment- they
    seem to lose inhibition, They seem to acquire the
    skills of questioning which seems to be a dying
    art these daysThey enquireseek
    informationquestion. The way they work together
    cooperatively. I think generally their
    self-esteem and their sense of feeling good about
    what theyre doing. I also think a lot of what we
    teach these days lacks purpose. I think the
    children knowing that it is their future- their
    environment- I think theyre recognizing their
    responsibility in caring for it, so theyre
    enthused, theyre motivated and theyre
    intrigued.
  • She spoke of how she had overcome management
    difficulties my teaching style has changed
    somewhat- I think because of my own interest in
    fostering concern with the kids for the
    environment. cont next slide

26
The innovators- at personal level Marianne (cont)
  • Mariannes knowledge of the processes involved
    suggested that she may be at the production
    knowledge level- she regularly plans lessons that
    use learnscapes in order to make learning more
    meaningful learnscapes had changed her
    planning.
  • Marianne would appear to be a user at the
    innovator level, but not directly influencing the
    school (probably because of her casual status)
    because I know learnscapes are there she
    structures activities that involve KLAs out in
    the learnscapes. She has generalized the
    presence of learnscapes and outdoor learning into
    her normal teaching repertoire. The possible
    reason for her use of learnscapes was her passion
    for the environment.

27
The innovator-at personal school levels Chris
  • Chris- inspired staff change through enthusiasm
    and modelling.
  • (School Environmental Club- students from each
    grade- Streamwatch, Birdwatch, rice paddies care
    etc. initiated and organised the WED)
  • At the collaboration stage of concern, BUT Chris
    had extended the boundaries of the innovation,
    adapted and even critiqued it, i.e., refocussing
    concern stage. He advanced the view that although
    it may be argued that
  • this is where we are going to have a learnscape
    and that is how it is going to be used for these
    KLAs as far as outcomesit doesnt seem to work
    that way. You look at something and you think,
    Well how can I use it and how could we get
    involved in it .
  • (He was critical of the concept learnscape as
    it conjured up the picture that the NSW DET had
    invented a new idea which Chris saw as no
    different to school environmental areas which
    the Gould League had promoted for decades.)
    cont. next slide

28
The innovators- at personal and school levels
Chris (cont)
  • At the production knowledge level (prepared
    syllabus and curriculum policy support documents
    always looking for ways to incorporate the
    outside into the various subjects. His students
    seem to enjoythe pattern of studying the
    environment.
  • Citing examples related to studying rice
    growing and Operation Birdwatch, when done over
    a period of years it becomes structuredwe tell
    them what to do what were going to look for,
    why were doing it the older kids tell the
    younger ones.
  • Always a strong overt environmental emphasis over
    many years, e.g., Birdwatch was test(ing) the
    health of the school playground.
  • The only teacher to teach sustainable practices
    in a concrete way.
  • what we've done, is to use that (rice
    paddies) to teach the rice growing cycle it's
    like planting, irrigating, harvesting and
    threshing, milling and then selling it or eating
    it and then saving some seeds for the next cycle
    and showing to the children how it is a
    sustainable agricultural system using that to
    teach Indonesian and also to sort of teach I
    guess EE, science and technology.
  • Background- social science/ geographical
    knowledge about environmental matters and mapping
    skills saw himself as an outdoors teacher (
    three schools). cont. next slide

29
The innovators- at personal and school levels
Chris (cont)
  • In his modest way Chris has impacted on the lives
    of many teachers and students through his belief
    in outdoor education and environmental awareness
    and his constant modelling of that belief.
  • All teachers interviewed referred to Chris in a
    positive and inspiring manner.

30
The principals perceptions
  • Leadership
  • Eric was a non-teaching principal supportive of
    LS through encouragement Chris directly and
    financial assistance loved LS (and occasionally
    taught children using LS.)
  • Had not advocated an ideal Innovation Profile
    for LS use. Probably a laissez faire
    orientation- innovation use to be discovered
    through the implementation process (Anderson,
    1997)
  • Seemed to have a real sense of what his teachers
    were thinking
  • Reflections
  • Eric- a year later- teachers are less resistant
    to using learnscapes
  • Cited the impact of outside science
    exploration day (WED)
  • Teachers think of LS more as a place where you go
    and do learning probably see(ing) real value in
    taking children into what they regard as a
    different learning environment and seeing it as
    important for childrens discovery learning in
    particular. not necessarily EE/rather
    experiential
  • Felt that most teachers would only associate EE
    with science teaching and mainly in the
    rainforest. (contrast Lauren)
  • Teachers may still be struggling because of time
    outdoor management issues and possibly teacher
    personality (outdoor people).

31
Findings RQ 1 How has the availability of
learnscapes impacted on the pedagogy of
individual teachers?
  • The inertia of existing practice was disturbed
    to different degrees their pedagogies affected
    in various ways
  • (from struggler to innovator -see table 1)
  • (Not assumed that all would become succeeders
    etc.)
  • Hoban argues teachers must see a purpose/
    need to change (here impact on student affect
    learning)
  • Overall certainly positive (cf. 5 use excursions
    in science )

32
RQ2 What factors help in understanding the
pedagogies that particular teachers have adopted?
  • Identified interdependent factors relate to
    change frames of teacher learning (1 to 3),
    school leadership (4) and structure (4).
  • Teachers conceptions of teaching is critical
    to obtaining change (Hoban, 2002) here their
    views about what is involved in teaching
    outdoors.
  • CBAM change is evolving from (a) lack of
    knowledge and skill (Anderson, 1997)
  • Aligns with first two factors
  • Change evolves from existing practices (here an
    ever-increasing realisation of what LS pedagogy
    could achieve (Leithwood Montgomery, in
    Anderson)
  • Consistent with third factor
  • cont next slide

33
RQ2 What factors help in understanding the
pedagogies that particular teachers have adopted?
(cont)
  • Interdependent Factors related to change
    frames
  • Familiarity with learnscapes
  • More regular and varied users
  • Seemed to understand the change more (see Table
    2)
  • Seemed to appreciate impact on environmental
    outcomes more exception- Annalee, but not
    specific environmental knowledge
  • Expressed environmental knowledge of the
    affordance of each LS (in two cases) cf.
    Shulman
  • cont next slide

34
RQ2 What factors help in understanding the
pedagogies that particular teachers have adopted?
(cont)
  • 2. Focussing on the consequences of using
    Learnscapes
  • Teachers used LS more if they appreciated the
    learning potential of LS and adapted their
    teaching style to suit outdoor learning (see
    table 2)
  • (To be a succeeder does not require being at
    collaborative/ refocussing levels of concern)
  • cont next slide

35
RQ2 What factors help in understanding the
pedagogies that particular teachers have adopted?
(cont)
  • 3A. Awareness of multiple learning outcomes from
    LS use
  • Used LS more if
  • perceived that LS contributed to a wider range
    of learning outcomes (eg learning outcomes other
    than those focussing on say just science and
    understanding)
  • learning to do surveys and going out and
    classifying and working out what youre looking
    for and then coming back and reporting on it and
    interpreting, classifying its all to do with
    problem solving everything they do as far as
    outside even when it comes to social
    skills(they are) being taught in (all) the KLAs
    (Chris)
  • Only Chris referred to problem solving as a EE
    outcome while Marianne alluded to general
    scientific enquiry.

36
RQ2 What factors help in understanding the
pedagogies that particular teachers have adopted?
(cont)
  • 3B. Appreciating social learning as a key
    outcome from LS use
  • The Land Care group example
  • Landcare is a group thingpeople who take over,
    some people become leaders and other people
    organizing thingsyou learn from other people
    that you work with, that you talk and you sort of
    socialize.
  • Chris speculated whether the rice farm tasks
    were training in doing that (Landcare thing)
    (considering how some students behaved when
    doing these tasks)
  • Out of school learning is socially-culturally
    mediated (Hyllested, 2004) and oriented to group
    learning (Rennie et al., 2004)
  • cont next slide

37
RQ2 What factors help in understanding the
pedagogies that particular teachers have adopted?
(cont)
  • 3C. Focussing on the encounter rather than the
    outcome
  • This tended to be Chris (and maybe Kates)
    approach
  • Compare Eisners expressive objectives/
    Stenhouses Principles of Procedure/ the values
    associated with Place-based education.
  • Maybe embed outcomes in LS experience after have
    decided to encounter the LS.
  • cont next slide

38
RQ2 What factors help in understanding the
pedagogies that particular teachers have adopted?
(cont)
  • 4. Being open to school level facilitation and
    professional development
  • (social and situated dimensions of school change)
  • Policy, game plan and game plan components (CBAM
    Intervention Taxonomy)
  • Policy not evident in relation to pedagogy except
    in initial site development plans
  • Principals support of Chris and staff staff
    meetings financial support (implied gp)
  • WED (PD) Chris modelling (gp components)
    General teacher-talk interviews (incidental gp
    components)
  • (School infrastructure for LS use?- Elements of
    short and long term planning but not formal
    participative enquiry
  • -Teacher sharing of ideas- effective PD but
    limited injection of new ideas single site)
  • cont next slide

39
RQ2 What factors help in understanding the
pedagogies that particular teachers have adopted?
(cont)
  • 4. Being open to school level facilitation and
    professional development (cont.)
  • Leadership and change
  • Teachers did not refer to principal but all
    mentioned Chris (second change facilitator)
  • cont next slide

40
RQ2 What factors help in understanding the
pedagogies that particular teachers have adopted?
(cont)
  • Other Change Issues
  • Ownership of the change may not be a required
    condition for change
  • (but may impact on EE learning outcomes as a
    focus)
  • External factors (priorities)
  • (Raised question of forcing change Eric and
    the interesting issue of whether it is better for
    teachers to teach in ways with which they are
    familiar than to use an innovation
    ineffectively Dlamini et al. 2001. Again
    teachers must see need for change Hoban, 2002)

41
Interdependent conditions related to Teacher
Learning for change (Here LS as pedagogical
tools)(see Figure 3A) A possible interpretation
Hoban, 2002
  • Student feedback (major influence)
  • Action (within authentic contexts) WED
    teachers own efforts
  • Community (embryonic)
  • Reflection (mainly ad-hoc)
  • Conceptual inputs (were within-school including
    modelling NSW DET publications- not mentioned)

42
Conclusions
  • An innovation with no prescribed Innovation
    Profile Pedagogical change explained by
  • Matrix of processes involving many factors both
    internal and external
  • Teacher learning change frame seemed most
    important with the support of school leadership
    (second change facilitator)
  • As there is access to practice as a resource for
    learning (a condition required for change-
    Hoban,2002) and discussion about practice,
    although embryonic, present, there is potential
    for further use of LS as a pedagogical tool.
  • Schools in similar situations could reflect on
    these findings to encourage LS use
  • Will the NSW DETs new EE policy (EfS emphasis)
    and LS as part of SEMPs help?

43
References
  • ALLISON, B., OSULLIVAN, T., OWEN, A., RICE, J.,
    ROTHWELL, A. SAUNDERS, C. (1996) Research
    Skills for Students (London, Kogan Page).
  • ANDERSON, (1997) Understanding teacher change
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48
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