Building Sustainable Communities - Online CPD Unit

Activity 3: Learning Outside the Classroom

'The use of places other than the classroom for teaching and learning'

The Geographical Association supports the Learning Outside the Classroom Manifesto, launched by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on 28 November 2006.

The Manifesto is a 'movement' or joint undertaking that many different stakeholders have helped to create, and to which anyone can sign up.

The GA endorsed the Manifesto because it believes it will help to ensure that all children and young people have a variety of high quality experiences outside the classroom environment. This is an essential part of their learning and development.

The GA is working with schools, local authorities, parents, carers and the many other organisations committed to providing an exciting range of teaching and learning opportunities outside the classroom.

For more information see the Learning Outside the Classroom website.

Holmes and Walker (2006) suggest, 'if you are prepared to be bold and willing to use fieldwork more as tool to enrich learning, then there are some significant advantages'. These are:

  • establish a connection to and an appreciation of the environment and its role within the community
  • learners tend to be more positive where it is open-ended and enquiry-based
  • outcomes of such an experience can be diverse, imaginative and often insightful

Is your programme of study clear that geographical learning takes place in the local community at both Key Stage 3 and GCSE?

What is missing if it doesn't?

Think about the different ways this entitlement can be enhanced and made more explicit.

Record these ideas for later discussion and use.

Look at a text book for Year 7 to see how it approaches 'where I live' or 'place'. How can you effectively translate the learning activities about somewhere else to your learner's own place?

Secondary Geography Handbook Cover
GA members can view a chapter about real world learning through geographical fieldwork from the Secondary Geography Handbook for free.

Download Chapter >>>


In This is geography 1, John Widdowson (2006) develops geographical skills through a locality study of Wanstead, east London. It would be straightforward to build upon these skills and integrate the learner's own place. Using Multimap (or other digital mapping tools) helps learners' identification and discussion of features in their own community through maps or aerial photographs. Making their own sketches or taking photographs is but one example of learning outside the classroom. These personal connections can be made through the unit and, indeed, the textbook series.

Now go to Stimulus Summary >>>

This project was run in partnership with the Academy for Sustainable Communities which has since become the Skills and Knowledge team at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

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