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Informal and formal learning and the pursuit of environmental education in young children: the role of Forest School

Nair, Suguna; (2019) Informal and formal learning and the pursuit of environmental education in young children: the role of Forest School. Masters thesis (M.Phil), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The continuing conflict between formal and informal education processes has many scholars divided in relation to the impact on learning and learner development. Though formal education, often characterised as ‘traditional’, usually has distinct, set boundaries and curriculum ‘subjects’, whereas informal education spans from adventure and discovery activities to fieldwork with the emphasis on holistic ‘experience’. Formal education focuses on specialist subject knowledge whilst informal learning can potentially nudge learners to take risks and inform themselves through their own experiences. When it comes to environmental education, informal learning occurring outside the classroom and possibly in natural environments claims to connect learners to nature and its elements in a manner that is elusive to formal education occurring within classrooms and laboratories. // This research focuses on the dissimilarities between formal and informal education in the interest of environmental education through the case study of Forest School. Forest School, as a concept, exposes young learners to the natural at regular intervals and allows them to learn through experiences and child-led and initiated activities. This study examines through case study techniques Dewey’s notion of experiential learning and the ways in which this is valued by various participants. Through participatory observation, photographs and interviews of children, practitioners, school teachers and parents, this pilot study has endeavoured to establish a relation between formal and informal learning, with the focus on environmental education. // This study has prompted discussions on the potential of Forest Schools to further raise environmental sensitivity and awareness in children. In the event of incorporating Forest School into formal education, the concept may have to change the manner in which it is perceived, designed and organised. This is to be regarded as a pilot study which has the potential to grow into research with data generated from a larger sample to pave the way to a well-organised and multi-disciplinary environmental education.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil
Title: Informal and formal learning and the pursuit of environmental education in young children: the role of Forest School
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10078702
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