A critique of Forest School: something lost in translation

Leather, Mark (2018) A critique of Forest School: something lost in translation. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education, 21 (1). pp. 5-18. ISSN 2206-3301

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Abstract

This is a critique of an approach to outdoor education experienced in the United Kingdom (UK) at Forest School. Forest School came to the UK primarily from Scandinavia, where early years education conducted in the outdoors is a widely accepted practice. In its move to the UK, however, three major issues have arisen. The first concerns how Forest School as a form of outdoor education is culturally, socially, and historically situated. This suggests that its adoption in the UK must navigate cultural differences, acknowledging that Forest School is a social construction. Secondly, the pedagogy of Forest School, relevant as it is to early years education, is undertheorised in the outdoor education literature. This especially relates to considerations of play as a central tenet of Forest School pedagogy. Thirdly, the expansion of Forest School in the UK has taken a particularly corporate turn, resulting in a rapid institutionalisation and commodification of Forest School practices. The need to situate claims made for and about Forest School in well-designed and conducted research is crucial for substantiating what can degenerate into market-based promotion. Finally, some of the very positive contributions Forest School is making to the development of contemporary practices of outdoor and environmental education are introduced. This critique is written in the spirit of engaging in robust discussion and debate around Forest School in order to see the difficulties addressed and the positive contributions continue.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Permission given by Dr John Quay to upload 'published before' print version of article 10/10/2016
Keywords: Forest School, commodification, social constructionism, play pedagogy
Depositing User: Mrs Wendy Evans
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2016 10:15
Last Modified: 22 May 2019 11:52
URI: http://marjon.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/10203
Related URLs: https://doi.org ... 2322-017-0006-1

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