Taking Learning Outdoors - Italy, June 2011

The equivalent hours in CPD courses wouldn't come close to equalling the learning experience that taking part in Taking Learning Outdoors was. Spending a week in the granduer and peace of an Italian mountain valley, in the company of passionate teachers from different nations, guided by enthusiastic leaders, challenged daily to step out of our comfort zone gave me impacted upon me in an immeasurable way. Immeasurable because I didn't simply gain things that can be quantified, like new teaching strategies. I underwent an intensive course of professional and personal development.

In teaching we talk about being reflective, using real-life contexts, participating in group work, and so on. TLO had all of these things in abundance. I was thrust into a community of peers where I developed my ability to participate in team, be supportive, trusting, patient, listening and thinking. Each day's activity encouraged a natural reflectiveness that left me feeling refreshed as a teacher and a person. I was engaged mentally, phsyically and emotionally in everything we did. That's what we want for our children, isn't it?

I left Italy smiling because I'd relished facing challenges as a member of a group who trusted and cared about one another; whose individual successes and struggles were everyone's successes and struggles. I also left with tears because I was overwhelmed by how true that last statement was. I won't be looking for tears neccesarily, but I'd love to see something that communal spirit reflected in my class next session because it's essential to learning as well as life after school.

Thanks Ally and Irene (and Gabriella because the food was amazing!)

Ross, Scotland


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