The Word "Classroom"

Every student knows what comes to mind when they hear the word: classroom; a compact room filled with tables, chairs, schoolwork, a teacher and a whiteboard at the front. But is this truly the optimal learning environment for developing adolescents? Researchers say that students who take some form of outdoor class are often much healthier and perform academically better than their peers (“11 Proven Benefits of Outdoor Learning” ).

Therefore, English 9 should incorporate an outdoor class into its weekly routine to promote healthier learning and a less stressful learning environment where students can perform at their best. First and foremost, English 9 should have outdoor classes because it significantly improves the health of the students in class. Research from CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that physical inactivity and well-being are among the factors that influence the learning ability of a student (“Health and Academics.”), which implies that a student’s learning ability can be boosted if he/she was physically healthy. In relation to this, the outdoor environment has plenty of fresh air which correlates directly to the health and well-being of an individual, as the human brain requires oxygen for respiration to perform various bodily functions such as thinking, learning and processing the information received via the five senses. As a matter of fact, many other parts of the body also benefit from an outdoor, healthy learning environment.

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Research says that sunlight hitting the skin results in the body creating and activating Vitamin D, which is naturally used in your body to fight cancer. Not only that, but it has also proven to help children with concentration problems such as ADHD to be able to concentrate better (“A Prescription for Better Health: Go Alfresco – Harvard Health.”), which will most likely have the same effect on any English 9 students who also have concentration problems. Besides this, the outdoor environment makes it much harder for diseases to spread; unlike the indoor classroom environment, where if one student has a cold and is sniffing and sneezing, it’s almost guaranteed that at least a couple other students would catch the cold as well. Second of all, outdoor classes are a less stressful learning environment where students can comfortably perform at their best.

Unlike the classroom, the outdoor environment is open, scenically diverse and limitless in boundary, greatly aiding in subjects where creative inspiration is key. Examples of these subjects include, but are not limited to, creative writing, poetry and the creation or use of literary terms such as similes, metaphors, allusions and personification. Students can make use of this infinite source of inspiration to produce their best creative literature work and also reduce stress in the process, as it’s much less stressful when you are near or surrounded by your source of inspiration to continue with and finish your creative work. Furthermore, outdoor classes are a refreshing change to the learning environment which keeps students fresh and alert, reducing stress which the mind unconsciously relates to indoor classroom environments and increasing the students’ participation level at the same time. This is simply because students seem to ‘shut down’ once inside a classroom environment, not answering questions if they don’t have to and doing their best to bypass the teacher’s attempts at student-teacher interaction. Because of this, a change in the learning environment effectively renews the students’ mindsets, as they are no longer in the classroom which they relate feelings of stress and anti-participation with.

This renewed mindset keeps students ‘on their toes’, making them more alert and eager to participate, than when they were sleepily lazing around in the classroom. As a result, there is an increase in attentiveness and participation, which substantially assists in the development of a student’s knowledge. Finally, the outdoor environment gives students the freedom to ‘create’ their own comfortable learning space, where they can choose the temperature of the area they study in, how much noise or people are closely surrounding them and many other minor factors which add up to optimize the student’s learning experience. This is so they can focus on the material being taught without being distracted by minor distractions usually found in classrooms, such as the temperature being too hot or too cold, the odor of a table partner who may have forgotten to shower or even the drum beat of that one student in every class that just can’t keep his/her hands and feet still. Overall, an outdoor learning environment should be incorporated into English 9’s weekly schedule as it’s a healthier learning environment, which boosts the students’ learning abilities and is also a less stressful environment where students can perform at their best. Nowadays, students are spending more and more time indoors due to new recreational technologies, becoming more and more unhealthy.

A weekly outdoor class may possibly be the push they need to get their minds started and elevate their academic capabilities.