Opening discussion on outdoor learning

Dylan Schoenfeld '21, Staff Writer

Infographic by Dylan Shoenfeld ’21.

Although the current winter season isn’t conducive for outdoor activities, the remains of winter will soon thaw into spring.Teaching classes outdoors is an option that could be a beneficial alternative to the current indoor setting.
All students learn differently and some say classes held outside could be distracting, like Paulina Gallagher ‘23. Gallagher argues it may be difficult to concentrate on a lesson with millions of distractions in the background.
“If a car were to drive by, or a dog was walking, or people were talking, I would automatically focus on that instead of my teacher and their lesson,” Gallagher said. “I wouldn’t do this on purpose but that’s just the way my brain works.”
Other students, like Jordan Wharton ‘23, say South in the warmer months gets extremely humid, and they find themselves preoccupied counting down the minutes until the bell rings instead of focusing on their classes. Wharton argues that outdoor classes would increase students’ focus.
“I often have issues focusing on my work in the school, so it would be interesting to see how much my focus would improve if outdoor classes became an option,” Wharton said. “Adding variety into the school setting would definitely be helpful for me.”
Safety is extremely important, especially in today’s climate. If students feel completely safe in an indoor setting, it should be no different outdoors. Joe Sabella ‘23 feels the school has done exceedingly well with keeping the school clean and believes the same will be done if outdoor classes become an option.
“Never has there been a time in these past two weeks where I’ve felt like my safety has been compromised,” Sabella said, “Indoor classes are kept super clean and that makes me feel like outdoor classes will be even cleaner.”
All comfort levels are different regarding the virus, making it difficult to devise a plan that accommodates every single preference. Gallagher anticipates it’ll be a challenge to ensure that everyone is satisfied in the end.
“What’s needed is an outline that suggests a good solution and creates a happy medium for all different types of teachers and students regarding outdoor learning,” Gallagher said.
There are still a couple of months until spring arrives, which leaves a solid amount of time for the situation to be further evaluated. Wharton believes that as more people can get the vaccine, cases should continue to decline, making school a safer setting.
“If the students feel safe and the teachers feel safe, I don’t see how outdoor classes could be a problem,” Wharton said.