Implementation and Outcomes of Outdoor Science Education in an Urban Setting on Primary and Intermediate Level Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Cora Delores, Christopher Roemmele, Brittany Severino


The term nature deficit disorder describes the “human costs of alienation from nature” (Louv, 2019). While not meant to be a medical diagnosis, Louv argues that the condition has, “profound implications, not only for the health of future generations but for the health of the earth itself” (Louv, 2008). Children most at risk are those who live or go to school in an urban setting, as well as students diagnosed with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (EBD). Students diagnosed with EBD are often kept indoors as their teachers and caretakers are frequently trained in the indoor use only of behavior management techniques (Riden et al., 2022). This means that during professional development training, any that pertain to behavior management techniques, procedure, or protocol are routinely taught inside of a classroom, conference room, or recently home office, using an indoor scenario (classroom, auditorium, cafeteria, etc.) as an example of when and how to use these behavior management tools. Outdoor professional development, equipping students with natural tools that can help improve not only their physical but also their mental health, as well as connecting students with nature in a way that teaches them to advocate for the health of the earth, thus becoming citizen stewards are all themes that are part of the massive, currently dysfunctional system that is outdoor education in schools. This study shows that when students are encouraged to interact with nature on their own terms on-task behaviors and motivation increase. Students also retained lesson information and asked follow-up questions after the lesson when taught outside using hands-on activities.

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Copyright (c) 2024 Cora Delores, Christopher Roemmele, Brittany Severino

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World Journal of Education
ISSN 1925-0746(Print)  ISSN 1925-0754(Online)

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