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How Outdoor Activities Influence English Learners

How Outdoor Activities Influence English Learners | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Education is defined as the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction in a formal setting (Cambridge Online Dictionary, 2019). However, the question is in what means is education provided? In unit 17 of the ITTT 120-hour TEFL course, a variety of equipment and aid were discussed. While the different teaching equipment can provide for an effective, successful lesson for the students, outdoor activities are equally important and can provide a range of benefits to English learning students. This essay aims to, using examples, investigate and discuss the importance of incorporating outdoor activities when teaching English as a foreign language.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Kayla P. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Active Learning

As technology has increased within the last few decades, children have become accustomed to using Ipads, cellphones, Gameboys, television, etc. and the outcome of this is that children are spending less time outdoors (Yilmaz, 2016). Although technology in the classroom has provided numerous benefits, studies have shown that more time spent indoors is hurting children’s’ health and development (Fawns, 2019). At the same time, research suggests that outdoor activities can be hugely beneficial for a child’s educational growth (Yilmaz, 2016). There are various reasons for students to be learning English as a second language, it is an extra lesson addition to their normal school routine. With this in mind, the English teacher should create a fun, learning environment different from the normal school routine to encourage the students and keep them motivated. One means of ensuring the lessons are fun, interactive and engaging while still achieving the goals of the lesson is outdoor activities.

Also Read: Top Tips for Sending Money Back Home While Teaching English Overseas

Teaching Important Skills

For example, part of a vocabulary and pronunciation lesson could be held outdoors where the students are either in pairs or groups and have to identify as many outdoor objects such as ‘tree’ and prepare a presentation for the class as to what they identified. This activity encourages learning as well as creativity as they can learn new information and skills as well as broaden their imagination (Fawns, 2019). Another example of an outdoor activity that English teachers could do with students is Chalk jump. Either vowels, verbs, nouns, etc. could be written on a pavement in chalk and the teacher calls one out and the students get a turn to jump onto it while calling out either a vowel, verb or noun, etc.

Also Read: 5 Reasons You Should Teach English in Rural Japan

Health

There are numerous health benefits to outdoor play as well such as building their strength and keeping the students fit while burning off extra calories (Fawns, 2019). Another benefit of outdoor activities is that is it less crowded than being indoors, therefore, making the students feel less intimidated (Fawns, 2019). Children are more likely to participate in games and get involved outside as it is a more relaxed environment, thus, encouraging their social skills. Another outdoor game that could be used while teaching English is hula hoop hop. This is similar to the chalk jump game, expect the students need to hop into the hoops while calling out either a vowel, verb, noun, etc. Roleplay games during the activate stage in a variety of English learning as discussed in the 20 units, can be presented outdoors rather, where the students are given more space and a change of scenery, possibly feeling more relaxed about presenting in front of their peers as they are outside the walls of a structured environment.

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Outdoor activities are hugely beneficial for students in such a way that it helps develop their learning abilities and skills, it encourages student’s creativity and imagination as well as major health benefits. A vital role of the teacher is to create a fun learning environment, ensure students are motivated and stimulated and maintain a healthy learning environment for the students. Being able to incorporate outdoor activities while teaching English is an important part of ensuring a good, healthy, fun way of learning. However, in conclusion, it is not to say that this is the only way of teaching English, but rather another teaching mechanism that should be used amongst other methods and techniques discussed throughout the units.

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