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21TRA573 Outdoor Learning: Inquiry in the Local Environment
Curiosity and wonder are essential elements of inquiry. In the midst of critical climate crisis, there are many global issues needing to be solved. To address these issues we need people to be curious, to ask questions, seek answers and create solutions. Children’s engagement with issues like climate change may be first kindled by finding magic and wonder in their own local places. Underpinned by the idea “We need to know a place if we are to value it”, local inquiry is about asking what this place is like, and why?
Fieldwork is a way of immersing children in their surroundings; of exploring the ‘outdoor classroom’ of their local environment (whether natural or built). An integral part of science, history and geography education, such fieldwork can also be an opportunity to develop and support inquiry-based learning, and to connect children with their immediate locality. It is this connection that will lead to transformative action and new ways of being in the world.
In this Webinar Sandra and Alan will explore ways of giving children opportunities to have a voice and activate change in their local area.

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Nov 24, 2021 03:30 PM in Dublin

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Dr Sandra Austin
@Marino Institute of Education
Dr Sandra Austin is Head of the Global Diversity, Sustainability and Intercultural Education Department at Marino Institute of Education, Dublin. She spent almost two decades as a cardiovascular research scientist in Ireland and the USA, receiving a Ph.D. (Pharmacology) in 2001 from the National University of Ireland. From 2006 she retrained as a horticulturist, working at the Eden Project, Cornwall, UK and then as co-ordinator of Grow Your Own Future, a Dublin-based horticultural training and accreditation programme for lone parents. From 2013-2016 she lectured in primary science education at St. Patrick’s College of Education, and from 2015-16 was also national co-ordinator for the RDS STEM Learning Project, a professional development programme for primary teachers. Since 2016 she has been lecturer in Social, Environmental and Scientific Education at Marino Institute of Education, Dublin, with a particular interest in inquiry-based learning and learning beyond the classroom.
Alan Bedford
@Marino Institute of Education
Alan Bedford is lecturer in SESE at Marino Institute of Education, Dublin. After qualifying as a primary teacher in 2010, Alan became more interested in an inquiry-based approach in children’s education and thus completed his Master of Education with Marino Institute in 2020. A former RDS STEM Learning project facilitator and ESB Science Blast mentor, Alan’s research focuses on using the local environment of a school as the starting point for inquiry-based research with primary school children.