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Outdoor Education and the Inclusion of Children with Special Needs: A Case Study from Germany
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication, National Centre for Outdoor Education (NCU).
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Inclusion recognises the diversity of people and aims to use these differences as advantages. Since the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2009 there have been changes to the educational system in Germany; children with special needs are now attending general schools. This change has developed complex debate in societies discourse and the media. It has highlighted the need for changes within the education sector that support inclusion and allow all students to participate on their level.

Within the field of Outdoor Education, learning contains practical and theoretical approaches, all senses should be used and emphasis is placed on students learning from experiences. Those learning methods are particularly well adapting for children with special needs as special education works with direct learning approaches. The place of learning is a key element within Outdoor Education and learning can take place outside the classroom in urban or rural environments.

In order to determine if Outdoor Education has the potential to increase inclusion of children with special needs, a study in a German primary school was conducted. The study focused on a single class whilst they participated in mathematics lessons. Interactions were observed between students and teachers during indoor and outdoor lessons; follow-up interviews with students and teachers were made.

The findings presented participation of all children while learning outside the classroom. In particular children with special needs showed an increased sense of achievement and a higher level of motivation and concentration in the outdoor lessons due to the fact that they were able to contribute to the exercises. The presented findings show that Outdoor Education has a meaningful potential in order to increase inclusion in German schools. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 58 p.
Keyword [en]
Outdoor Education, inclusion, special needs, disability, experiential learning, practical learning, Germany, primary school
National Category
Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-129652ISRN: LIU-IKK-MOE-D--16/003--SEOAI: diva2:942099
Subject / course
Master in Outdoor Environmental Education and Outdoor Life
Available from: 2016-06-27 Created: 2016-06-23 Last updated: 2016-07-06Bibliographically approved

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Güdelhöfer, Ina
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