Self-evidently maths pervades the entire world. And yet traditionally it is studied almost exclusively within the classroom.
Clearly this works, since every year pupils and students learn the subject and take and pass their exams. But the question can be asked, is there a benefit in studying maths outside the classroom?
Recent research undertaken by a team at Yale University has revealed that learning in new and different places stimulates the brain to a much, much higher level than otherwise would be the case.
As a result any form of study that is undertaken during or after a visit to a different environment tends to be understood much more rapidly than study in the normal classroom. And it is remembered for much longer.
Of course, if the learning can also be related to something in the environment visited then the learning becomes even more deeply embedded. But even without that link, the mere fact of being in a different place stimulates the brain so much that it is invariably learned and remembered to a much deeper degree.
The one issue that has traditionally held schools back from undertaking more and more lessons outside the classroom is transport. However this problem has been overcome via the increased availability of leased minibuses which allow smaller groups to be taken out.
For a minibus taken on a lease is paid for month by month until the lease ends, rather than being paid for in full at the start of its use. As a result, over recent years more and more schools have been leasing their minibuses rather than trying to raise the money needed all in one go.
Thus teaching and learning has in many schools had a double boost. Once from leasing rather than buying an additional minibus, and once because learning outside the classroom stimulates learning far more than learning that happens inside the classroom.
If you find this development interesting and feel it is something your department could benefit from, there are two articles available that may be of interest.
The research on learning in different environments from Yale University is reported in more detail on the Outside.Education website
And if you are interested in the idea of leasing a minibus to enable the school to run more trips outside the classroom there is information on that here. Alternatively, you can get in touch by calling the Minibus Team on 01753 859944 or by dropping us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – and we’ll do our best to help!