Teachers’ intentions with outdoor teaching in school forests: Skills and knowledge teachers want students to develop


  • Birgitta Wilhelmsson Institutionen för naturvetenskapernas och matematikens didaktik, Umeå universitet
  • Gun Lidestav Institutionen för skoglig resurshushållning och geomatik, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
  • Christina Ottander Institutionen för naturvetenskapernas och matematikens didaktik, Umeå universitet




There is an interest among Swedish teachers to locate teaching outdoors. This study focuses on four teachers in grades 4-6, to explore their intentions and objectives with regular teaching outdoors. Datasources consist of semi-structured interviews, descriptions on successful activities, and reflections on metaphors. The use of intentional analysis and Bloom’s revised taxonomy on teachers’ objectives show that the teachers stress the out-of-school learning that draws on the actual world and concrete material. Yet their objectives with these authentic experiences are diverse. Two teachers have mainly cognitive objectives with a holistic view of knowledge where outdoor and indoor interact. To become knowledgeable, each individual student needs teaching in this proper context. The other two teachers primarily have affective objectives, in a dichotomy between learning theoretical knowledge indoors, and learning practical, concrete knowledge outdoors. They consider the outdoor arena as crucial for students with learning difficulties.