Teaching Skills: prepare the learner

Tools for Teaching Navigation

Tools for Teaching: Introduction

Facilitation Skills: TheĀ art of group facilitation

Teaching and Presentation Skills: Keep these techniques in mind

Tips for Programs: Practical examples and resources

Teach Outdoors

Preparing the Learners

  • Understand that some learners, especially youth, may not have had outdoor learning opportunities and may be uncomfortable. Some misbehavior may be due to this discomfort.
  • Give learners advance notice before going outdoors so that they can dress appropriately for that day (e.g., comfortable and sturdy shoes, long pants, shirts with sleeves, rain gear, jackets, mittens, hats). Learning outdoors throughout all seasons and weather helps deepen understanding of ecological and conservation concepts. So, rather than cancel, bring along some extra clothing for those who are unprepared.
  • Discuss safety and potential hazards. Encourage the use of sunscreen, sun-safe hats, and insect repellent. Have a plan for providing plenty of water. When appropriate, wear safety goggles and/or rubber gloves, and only dispose of chemicals in plastic waste bottle (clearly labeled). Establish with the learners the objectives for learning outdoors.
  • Before going outdoors, help young learners set appropriate guidelines for behavior (e.g., walk carefully, speak quietly, taste only plants offered by a leader). Behavior is a function of communication and expectation, not a function of the learning setting.
  • Have young learners select a partner or small group with which they must stay.
  • Have learners gather and bring all necessary equipment.
  • Set physical boundaries, time limits, and a place to meet.
  • Agree upon a signal to call the group back together (e.g., raising a hand, setting time limits, clapping several times, making a bird call) and, with young learners, practice it before going outside.


Adapted with permission from Soil and Water Conservation District Outreach: A Handbook for Program Development, Implementation and Evaluation. Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Soil and Water Conservation, 2003.