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5.2.1 Forest pedagogue: a new job in the forest sector Foresters are professionals of the forest and wood sector. Consequently their training, their knowledge and their expertise are concentrated within that sector. Their network also builds on that same sector and therefore when they talk and exchange, foresters mainly count on a similar background from the person they are talking to. Issues related to forests and to ecology however do not only concern foresters and specialists but the whole society. Therefore it is particularly important that this information and the knowledge of ecological interdependencies should be made available to the broadest possible group of people. Not all the persons concerned or interested by these issues however share the same background as the forest specialists or possess that high level, specific knowledge. To reach these persons and to bring them the message of the foresters, the language used among specialists when meeting together will not be appropriate. Adaptations are necessary in the language but also in the argumentation, especially when the persons to speak to are children, adolescents, seniors or persons with special needs. Adaptations are also needed in the interaction mode, especially when and where the target audience is made of children (see 5.2.4 and 5.2.6). One could object that teaching is not part of the job of a forester and that passing the message to non specialists is a task that should be taken over by teachers, provided they have acquired enough understanding of forest issues, so that they can forward it to their pupils. In the learning science, however, there is a recurrent tendency to consider that knowledge is best acquired in situ, that is where it is grounded and in contact with the persons who master it at first hand. Therefore, more and more persons think that this task should be taken over by foresters themselves, within the scope of their general tasks. The problem however is that during their education and training, foresters generally had no preparation to educational or didactical matters. As stated in the PAWS project, a previous Leonardo da Vinci project of the European Commission Education and Culture Directorate-General (http://www.pawseurope.org): To assume this role, foresters will need knowledge and competence in the field of developmental psychology, pedagogy and teaching-focused didactics, pedagogical communication, (‌), project-based and experiential learning, understanding of all this is needed for successful implementation of forest pedagogics activities. Of course, the objective cannot be to open up a competition between regular teachers and foresters; as it will be shown in the present module, a sound collaboration is needed, which implies both that teachers are made aware of the important educational value of the forest (cf. 5.2.2), and that foresters are prepared to the crucial role of passing over their knowledge and commitments to younger generations (cf. 5.2.3 to 5.2.6).

More information about forest pedagogy can be found in the Internet platform: www.forestpedagogics.eu

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5.2.2 What the forest can teach to children? Regular contact with the forest can contribute to the development of children in various ways. Sensory development

A child will first come into contact with its environment through his senses. It will do the same with the forest. To develop his senses, parents often use books of pictures filled with beautiful drawings of trees, flowers, small animals or wild berries, but would it not be wiser to bring children to discover real trees, real insects, to feel the moisture of the forest and to listen to the noise produced by various kinds of animals running away as soon as they hear you approaching. Observe, see, feel it, smell, hear, taste: The forest ecosystem allows children and young adults to satisfy their curiosity through all five senses. Not all the children are used to observe nature closely; it is our duty, as teachers, foresters, or parents to find interesting things to present them and to sharpen their sense of observation. As Cornell (1996) puts it "The observation at first, the speeches then. But the same is true for all five senses. Examples of activities aiming a fostering sensory development are proposed in section 5.3 Ref : Joseph Cornell (1996). Vivre la nature avec les enfants. Genève : Editions Jouvence.

Nevertheless sensory development is only the tip of the iceberg and education in and through the forest can also positively impact children’s motor development, social behaviour, creativity, and even their physical or mental health. To discuss this, we’ll take the concrete example of a work realized by Pierre Cathélaz, forester and specialized educator. His research carries on "The contribution of forest activities for children 8 to 12 years suffering from emotional deprivations". Therefore the responsibility of the adult is to facilitate this fabulous encounter between the child and the forest without omitting of course to look for its security.

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Motor development There are thousand ways to walk in the forest, thousand ways to use its elements to practice physical exercises, whatever your age and physical condition. Always remember that the forest is a natural space without walls or doors. Children are free to be physically active, to run, to climb, to exercise their agility, their balance, to develop their imagination. Movement brings to the child an overflowing enthusiasm and a spontaneous curiosity. Furthermore, they will have the impression to be far from the eyes of their teacher or their mother. This feeling of freedom will also strengthen their creativity. In the forest, it is difficult to remain passive as we could be in front of a TV screen or of a computer. A Norwegian study (Fjortof, 2000) showed that young children from 3 to 7 years old who play every day in the forest develop more balance and coordination than children of the same age playing in a paved courtyard. Furthermore, a Danish study revealed the existence of a clear link between flexibility and psychosocial qualities: soft children proved more self-confident, they showed more assurance in the presence of adults and were more likely to participate in activities they proposed, were better appreciated by their friends, and knew better how to take care of themselves when they were alone. Attitudes and social behaviour

Humility: children of the cities who think that we can meet foxes or lynx at every corner of the forest might well be at first frustrated. Nevertheless, they will learn that such discoveries, when they happen, deserve respect, which will contribute to develop his modesty and patience. Test yourself: Imagine you are playing the game of a food chain: you will of course prefer to be a hind or a fox instead of a grass or a mouse. Not very fun to be eaten at once! With children it is therefore necessary to explain them why they cannot always be predators.

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Sharing: Imagine a child discovering an ant-hill, a skeleton of a bird or of a mammal (not rare in the forest). Quite naturally he will call his friends. He will want to show them his discovery. In other occasions, he will also be happy to share the wild berries picked under careful look of an adult. Respect: in an environment such as the forest, every creature has its place and is useful. Showing to a child that a beetle is as interesting as a bird or that a spider is useful because it will eat the mosquito which otherwise will bite him will make the child think. Gradually, he will respect the whole life cycle and by analogy also his friends and perhaps even more those who suffer from a handicap. Mutual assistance: the absence of toys or other equipment in the forest will not raise any jealousy and therefore should not lead children to fight each other. On the contrary, there will be enough pieces of wood, leaves, moss for everybody. Moreover, the heavy branches that will necessary to build the structure of a beautiful hut will require joint participation of several children together. Spontaneously, the children will help each other in the realization of a common project. Concentration: in a recent book Sarah Wauquiez (2008) describes two studies showing impacts on children's concentration. In the first one, Gorges (2000b) asked 37 first year teachers to compare the behaviour and the learning capacity of children who were before that in a special kindergarten run in the forest to children who had attended a more traditional kindergarten. In the second one, Häfner (2003) conducted a similar study with 230 children from a kindergarten run in the forest and 114 from a more traditional kindergarten. In both studies, the "children of the forest" show a better capacity to concentrate than the children who had attended the classic kindergarten. Häfner also shows that they stay concentrated for a longer period and show more interest for the school". Ref: Sarah Wauquiez (2008). Les enfants des bois. Editions Books on Demand.

Calm and serenity: when the child is off steam, it is interesting to propose an activity that requires a moment of silence by listening to the sounds of the forest. The child will settle comfortably and according to his desire, he will close his eyes and listen to the forest. On his own, he will realize that such noises as the whistling of the wind, the humming of the insect, the song of a bird or the noise of a squirrel nibbling its pine can only be heard when silence is reached. Archaic fears dominance: the children's literature is full of history where the "bad guys" are often in the forest. No wonder then, if the child is afraid of the forest, the fear of wild animals, the fear of insects and the fear of being alone. In this case, the teacher will have a very important role in reassuring the child. Then he will explain him that the forest is not dangerous more than another ecosystem. And finally, it would be beneficial that everyone can express his feelings. In externalizing his fears, the child regains confidence in him and benefit fully from the exploration in the forest. Endurance: Being out whatever the weather conditions are, to walk, run, or be in contact with dirt and confronted with the elements of nature will naturally strengthen the natural body’s defences of children and young adults. In her study, Sarah Wauquiez found that: "more than half of the 90 parents interviewed observed that their children were less sick, more robust and more resistant”. They attributed this to the fact that they attended the “kindergarten in the nature" Therapeutic contribution of the forest

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Cathélaz (2005) is concerned with showing the influence of activities in forest on children with relational deficiencies. His study is based on free activities in delimited area and time as well as on guided activities including three steps: 1. Children are invited to write down on a sheet of paper what a small tree needs in order to survive and to grow in the forest and what could prevent another small tree to grow and to develop and ultimately pass away? 2. Children then transplant a small tree that has no future in a given place and replant it in a new place more suitable for its development. 3. Finally children describe what has changed for this tree. “If the tree could speak or think, what would he want to say?” Let’s quote some of his conclusions at the end of his research: • The forest activities lead emotionally deficient children to develop a creativity similar to other workshops, be it in wood, pastry or other do-it-yourself activities. But what differentiates activities in the forest from these other activities, is the context, which permanently changes as do the light, the shadows, the fog, the animals, the plants change, depending on time or seasons. Therefore, constant adaptation on the part of the children is required. • Being placed in the middle of vital elements, such as water, soil and air, symbolically shows to the children that the human body’s functioning, as a tree, can also be disadvantaged or privileged with respect to his development. Having to care for the development of trees and plants, children got to understand the importance of respect. Moreover, being alerted to the wounds that animals can make to trees, children were lead to re-examine their own reality of “wounded” children. According to the author, "the forest offers the opportunity to reconnect the deficient child with his potential, his creativity in order to understand better their emotions and their feelings." He encourages deeply his colleagues who are in charge of children with such symptoms to organize activities in the forest as long as the educator relies on scientific research concerning emotional deprivation and on rigorous analyses. Ref: Pierre Cathélaz (2005). Les apports des activités en forêt pour des enfants de 8 à 12 ans souffrant de carences affectives. Travail de diplôme présenté à l’Ecole supérieure de travail social de Fribourg.

The bringing-in of the forest during adolescence Later on, when the child becomes a teenager, the teacher can begin to teach the principles and ecology of the forest. At that age, it becomes ready to revise its knowledge about flora and fauna. However, the teenagers often prefer concrete experiences rather than theory. Concrete experiences answer their curiosity as well as their need for action. Youngsters only appreciate working if they can see it as useful and therefore clearly favour concrete work. In “a job with the forester” Stanislas Frossard (1998) suggests a three steps approach: Step 1: The forester explains to the adolescents the utility of the work planned Step 2: The forester and the adolescents work together in the forest. Step 3: (some time later) The youngsters come back to the forest and are lead to appreciate the changes the work realized together brought to the forest. Examples of such works which can be accomplished together in the forest • Planting trees • Install protections against games and especially ungulate animals • Putting addressing on wounded trees

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• Clearing wooden cuts • Looking after paths and ways Ref: Stanislas Frossard (1998). Un boulot avec le forestier : huit travaux en forêt avec des groupes de jeunes. Yverdon-lesBains : Editions de la Forêt.

5.2.6 Lessons from Developmental and Educational Psychology Whoever is familiar with children knows that they develop on a very rapid tempo, with new reactions, behaviours or performances to be seen almost every day. Our brain is however not well equipped to think of realities as continuums. This is why, when we think of the time passing, we tend to slice it in years, days, hours, minutes or seconds, or, are forced to use basic colours to describe tones, such as light blue, dark blue, etc. For that same reason, within the literature on the development of children, this development is generally presented in periods. While developmental psychologists use such distinctions as infancy, adolescence, young adults, etc., in educational psychology, we rather use school labels to articulate these periods, and to define target groups: pre-schoolers, primary school children, secondary school children, etc. This should not be understood as if the change of a school system would per se be a catalyst for change in the personality, attitudes, or reasoning of a child. It is much more for reasons of convenience that these distinctions are made but also because it gives some indications on who will be with them, the kind of knowledge they have already been exposed to as well as the kind of teaching methods they are used to. Since the ages to which these periods correspond may be slightly different from country to country, a standardized periodicity is often used when it comes to discuss on an international basis. The following distinctions adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) within the so-called International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED, generally serves as a basis for making these distinctions. • • • • • •

early childhood/pre-primary (ISCED 0) primary school (ISCED 1) lower secondary school (ISCED 2) upper secondary school (ISCED 3) post-secondary non-tertiary (ISCED 4) tertiary (ISCED 5 – 8)

More about these distinctions can be learned from: http://www.uis.unesco.org/education/pages/international-standard-classification-ofeducation.aspx?SPSLanguage=EN) The presentations made in this module, will be organized around these distinctions.

Early childhood/Pre-primary school children

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Although more and more children go to nursery schools, day care, etc., there is only a small probability that children of that age will visit the forest without their parents. With people they do not know yet, they are often shy and, whenever addressed, they do not easily answer questions or give information. No matter with whom they are, one needs to be aware that they have only limited attention span; however they can be captivated by using fantasy, mystery and magic more than by pure facts or logical and scientific argumentations. In order to capture their attention, a good approach is to personalize the characters and the things, and to integrate animals and species in fairy tale like stories; they will love to listen to what goes on in the forest, and especially be fascinated by everything happening during the night (while they sleep) or in secret places deep in the forest, if the species are baptised Mister Coucou or Miss Lily, if the facts are presented as events and the sceneries are described as places they are familiar with, such as bedrooms, kitchens or playgrounds. To make children of that age develop a good feeling for the forest, and possibly remember what they have been presented there, their visit to the forest should be punctuated by easy to remember events, such as plays, snacks, songs, etc. Remember however that they are not yet well socialized and that they often do not know how to interact properly with other children, without disputing, teasing or screaming.

Primary school children This is certainly the age range in which children are the more curious and most willing to learn new things about their environment. Once captivated, they will ask questions and talk much more easily than younger (or older) children. Nevertheless, attention span remains limited at that age, and children need to be involved in activities as soon as possible, so to avoid dispersion, especially when they also show signs of hyperactivity. During primary school, children tend to build exclusive social relationships and to show clear preferences for some of their classmates. This can eventually lead to problems when you’ll

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ask them to cooperate with others for an activity. If you wish to do this, which is per se a good thing, better let their teacher decide who should cooperate with whom. In most primary school classes, you’ll notice different behaviours among the pupils; being in an environment unfamiliar to them will exacerbate these differences. It is therefore very much likely that you’ll have some children willing to listen to what you are telling them and others trying to disturb them to do so. The wisest thing will be to let the teacher take care of the latters so that you can work with the formers. If this is not possible, do not ignore them or don’t try to force them to be interested if they do not want to. None of these solutions will work. Simply try to avoid letting them disturb their classmates by offering them the possibility to do something else instead and asking them to choose between the two options. It is likely that they will prefer to do what all the others do than what you just suggested. Towards the end of primary school, children will often be entering a so-called preadolescence phase, during which some of the transformations involved in the adolescence process will start. Due to various factors such as nutrition, psychological safety and family care, the age in which the adolescence process starts is regularly lowered (starting approximately 3 months earlier every ten years), so that it is not rare nowadays to watch the adolescence process start as early as 9 or 10, that is within the primary school period. While these early transformations especially concern physical aspects, they might also affect children’s behaviour and their attitudes towards others. During that stage, they will show agitation or signs of boredom and might well laugh derisively. To improve their popularity with their friends, they might well try and laugh on your own expenses, or try to make a fool of you and of your sayings. Or they might want to express special disgust towards (natural) phenomena you are describing. Be prepared to accept such behaviours as a consequence of their age not as a reaction against you. Also accept that at this age, they might suddenly become embarrassed to cooperate with classmates from the other sex. At that age, same sex grouping is a much safer strategy to adopt when asking pupils to perform activities in small groups.

Lower secondary school pupils Approximately at the same time as they enter secondary school, children enter adolescence. Adolescence is both a physiological process and a sociological phenomenon. Statistical comparisons show that adolescence is getting longer and longer, starting earlier and finishing later and later, in many cases even beyond the age of 20. If the duration of the whole process is pretty much equal, important differences can be seen between individuals in terms of age of start and age of end of adolescence. Even at the “body” level, differences of up to 6 years can be observed without being considered by medical doctors and health care specialists as anomalies. Recent data show that the important changes going on during adolescence are important consumers of energy and therefore can be seen as partly responsible for the lack of energy and tiredness generally noticed among adolescents; hormonally driven, these changes also have an impact on the “internal clock” of teenagers, explaining in part why they “naturally” like to wake up late in the morning and are not ready to go to sleep until late in the night. Together with the morphological changes they induce, these changes are received by the adolescents with mixed feelings, joy, and hope on the one side but also uncertainty and even fears on the other, ignoring where transformations will bring them and how they will look like at the end of the process. This explains also the shift of their attention from exterior towards interior phenomena, away from what they consider as outside of themselves and

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towards what they consider as central, their own “look” and the image of themselves they would like to impose to others. At the cognitive level, adolescents discover the power of argumentation and enjoy entering in (intellectual) confrontations with others; this happens with peers but also with adults and all types of authorities; although this is achieved on a verbal basis in priority, it can also be acted in a behavioural way when they fear they might be missing convincing arguments. With peers they might then go into aggressive interactions, with adults they’ll rather adopt interfering behaviours. In class, they will choose to engage in disruptive behaviours and search for ways to get on the teacher’s nerves. Being in the position of a teacher, the forest pedagogue will surely have to face such situations when confronted to young adolescents. Although such reactions are not easy to avoid, they will of course be amplified the more the situation looks like a classroom situation. It is therefore a good idea to avoid as much as possible to “play” the teacher and to “put the adolescents” in the position of pupils. Upper secondary school pupils After the age of 15-16, group phenomena start to decline while individual differences are blooming. Important differences will be seen between girls and boys in terms of interests, attention and behaviours. In general, girls tend to underestimate their capacities in science and to show lower interest for scientific issues. On the contrary, boys often overestimate their capacities and try to make believe they understand science more than they do. At that age also, some have already a clear idea regarding what they will go and study but other don’t. Compared to lower secondary school children, upper secondary ones are more willing to accept “lectures” and can stand longer verbal explanations. On the contrary, they might be reluctant to long walks and endless “tours”. At that age, you’ll probably also notice more than before the constitution of pairs of very close friends, especially among girls. Whenever the activity or the lecture looses interest for them, they soon will engage in private discussions and “off” task behaviours. It is however much easier than with younger children to bring them back to the situation, since they are not doing it for confrontation purposes with the adult but for pursuing an endless exchange with their confident. However, we advise you to do it by asking a question or showing them something especially interesting rather than by pointing out their inattention. Joking about their inattention is also not a good idea, since it will provoke embarrassment and discomfort and may lead to frustrations and negative reactions from the whole classroom. Adults Of course, adults participate in forest-based activities or events on a voluntary basis, which is hardly the case for children and adolescents. This comes with the enormous advantage that their interest is already given and that not much effort is needed to stimulate it. Nevertheless group activities with a group of adults are often as hard conducing as with younger persons due to the huge differences in previous knowledge and attitudes you will be confronted with in such groups. Moreover, with adults, it is hard to estimate in advance what knowledge they might have and on what it will be possible to base your explanations. Finally, within groups of adults, you’ll always face the person who will try to capture all your attention and forces you to answer all his or her questions. Such an attitude will discourage other persons to interact with you and will, in turn, lower their interest for and participation in the activity. Try

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hard to avoid engaging in “private” dialogues with such “egoist” participants and make all your effort to divide your attention to as many persons as possible in the group. In contrast to classes, groups of adults are also generally made of persons of various physical and health conditions. This makes it difficult to tailor activities such as tours, walks or other kind of activities involving long standing dispositions and physical resistance, be it inside as well as outside. Each activity therefore needs to be exactly planed and timed, and this needs to be communicate to the participants ahead of time so that they can decide to join it or not.

We will find some of these examples in the section “Examples of activities by age groups” (5.3). Studying the forest does not only mean to look after it or to focus on natural sciences. Knowing that the forest is a complex ecosystem, it is possible to take advantage of it for various school disciplines. This is what Philippe Vaquette (1988) calls "a global pedagogy" in its work "A guide for the natural educator." Ref : Philippe Vaquette (1988). Guide de l’éducateur nature. Gap : Editions Le Souffle d’or.

Examples of subjects within the various school disciplines, where benefits could be withdrawn from experiences made in the forest.

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Mathematics and geometry: set theory, problem solving, measures, lengths, volumes, etc. Geography: reading and understanding plans or maps. Situating oneself in space using cardinal points and other topographical elements. Discussing the impact of climate or weather conditions on the constitution of soils and the growth of species. Of course, forests do not look identical in various latitudes and continents; studying these differences will help pupils to differentiate types of forests (boreal, taiga, tropical, Mediterranean, evergreen, wooded savannahs, etc.). Biology: reproduction, the structure and functioning of cells, constructing and organizing an herbarium, genetics, etc. History: by using old and new land registries or other kinds of landscape representations, students can be brought to study the evolution of population and of mankind activities over the centuries. First language learning: the forest has its specific vocabulary; it also raised interest of many writers over centuries, allowing the comparison of various writing modes and styles. Finally it offers many subjects to write on and to describe in students’ writings as well as to report on in talks. Foreign languages: the world of the forest is so immensely rich of objects that it can be used as an excellent basis for installing foreign language vocabulary; it can also serve as meaningful context for learning expressions and concepts while and by doing various activities instead of sitting in a classroom.

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Arts and painting: in the forest nothing is easier than to find something to draw, to play music with or to carve. All artistic disciplines can therefore naturally benefit from visits to the forest. Concluding remarks School is often a place of rivalries, confrontations and competitions. Some children adapt to it very well, but others suffer, sometimes silently, of not conforming to its requests and priorities. Nature in general and the forest in particular has the potential to balance such inequalities. Every child will get the possibility to develop in an environment where he or she will be recognized as it is, with his or her own qualities, attitudes and potentialities. As Anatole France wrote it, "The art of teaching is only the art of awakening the curiosity of young souls." This saying is especially true with respect to the forest, because this ecosystem permanently provides the natural material that will satisfy the desire to learn, whatever the season or the location.

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5.2.3 General didactical principles Although not every didactics works with all age groups, there are some general principles, which will work whatever age group you are confronted with. These general principles are: • • • • • • • • •

Children are not “mini-adults” Learning is only possible when all more basic needs are satisfied Involvement will be proportional to the clarity of the objective Always keep in mind which age group you are talking to Take advantage of what the audience might already know Link what you say with their everyday life, interests, etc. Accept any question, without judging them Balance action and listening in an appropriate way Be aware that children of a same age group may be very different !

Lets now elaborate a little on each of these principles. Children are not “mini-adults”

Children are not simply smaller than adults; they do have special physical and psychological characteristics, which make it inappropriate to use with them didactical methods perfectly suited for an adult audience.

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First of all, they do not have the same attention span, the same patience or the same resistance than adults. So listening to a talk, waiting in silence until a specific animal arrives, or walking an hour in the wood to the next point of interest, will simply not work with children.

Second, children do not have the same logic than adults. Before the age of 10-11, reasoning can only be carried on concrete things, such as objects or propositions clearly related to visible objects or real events; deductions derived from hypothetical situations are not mastered, representations of events which they have not seen yet remain fuzzy, probabilities are only broadly conceived as broad categories (likely or unlikely) Third, they generally do not realize what is hidden behind large numbers, with respect to sizes, ages, etc.

Finally they lack references regarding well-known historical marks and hardly can locate in time events, which did not happen in the present century. The next chapters of this module will give an overview of the way children of different age groups tend to behave and how they react to specific didactical techniques. Learning is only possible when all more basic needs are satisfied

According to Maslow’s needs hierarchy, human needs can be ordinated from the more potent to the less potent, that is from the needs that will drive all human behaviours towards their satisfaction as soon as they become noticed to the needs that will only be considered once all the other, more urgent, needs have been satisfied. “Unfortunately” needs such as personal development, acquisition of new knowledge or competence have low priority level while other needs such as physiological needs, safety needs, or social acceptance needs have higher priorities. This principle then means that your audience will only be interested to your teaching and be able to dedicate attention and intellectual effort when their more urgent needs such as satisfying one’s thirst, accepting one’s fatigue, or surmounting one’s fears have been satisfied. As a consequence, you’ll have to make sure that your audience is not thirsty, not too tired nor too hot, or frightened for instance, so that they might dedicate effort and attention to what you are trying to teach them and to engage energy and intellectual power in learning and remembering it.

Réf: Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological review, 50(4), 370. doi: 10.1037/h0054346.

Involvement will be proportional to the clarity of the objective

Experienced teachers are perfectly aware that students’ involvement, that is their motivation to invest effort and mental resources in an activity, depends on their perception of its objective. If the objective of an activity is unclear, if students do not understand what they are expected to do, what they should look for and take out of an activity, they will not mobilize attention and intelligence in the activity.

However clarity of the objective of an activity is not enough. To engage themselves in an activity learners need to be able and willing to transform such objective into a personal goal. Therefore good teachers often assist students in transforming his own objective into a personal goal of his students. For instance, challenging students to find the answer

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of a problem presented as tricky (objective of the teacher), will trigger the students to try hard to solve that problem in order to show to their teacher that they are smart (goal of the students). Clarity of the objective is more important than its direct attainability. Even far to reach objectives (calling what Bandura and Schunk have termed “distal” goals) can be motivating if they are clearly representable. However if the main objective to reach is too far from one current point, be it a physical location or a knowledge state, it is advised to pave the road towards this objective by setting intermediate objectives (calling more “proximal” goals). Their attainment will serve as rewards and sustain student efforts towards reaching more distal goals.

Réf: Bandura, A., & Schunk, D. H. (1981). Cultivating competence, self-efficacy, and intrinsic interest through proximal self-motivation. Journal of personality and social psychology, 41(3), 586.

Always keep in mind which age group you will be (or are) talking to Whether you are facing children, adults or elderly, you will be confronted with different attitudes, competences and reactions. This is true also with respect to children from different age groups. Never consider that a scenario that was successful with adults will necessarily work with children and that what interested children of primary school will also capture the interest of children of secondary school level or vice-versa. Good practice in education always takes the target, i.e the children, as the basis of reflection and adapts the approach of a given content to the specificity of the audience. This of course does not mean that you need to change the topic to suit every different age group but that you’ll have to adapt the methodology, the nature of the activities proposed, and the language used to make them more in phase with the affective and cognitive level of those you are to talk to as well as with their physical capacities when your activities involve long location changes, standing for quite a long time or listening to specific frequencies or volumes, for instance. Take advantage of what the audience might already know … but beware of possible misconceptions When introducing a topic, or approaching a (new) domain, always consider that those in front of you might already know some things that can be related to what you expect them to learn. But be prepared to the fact that what they actually know might be incompatible with what you are going to tell them. So for instance, children develop very early a sense of velocity, temperature or volume, etc., which will come to their mind whenever you address these issues. We call this already existing knowledge, preconceptions. But these preconceptions will either serve as facilitators or as inhibitors to the acquisition of more “scientific” knowledge. For children before the age of 11-12, velocity is assimilated to speed, noise and possibly thrill, while scientists might even use the concept of velocity for something almost not moving. Temperature is associated to heat, whereas scientists may consider negative temperature as well. In some cases these preconceptions may be misconceptions, that is represent a wrong appreciation of a given notion or process, such as ingestion, digestion, forces, etc… While some

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preconceptions might serve as springboards towards the acquisition of a notion, others, and especially misconceptions, can actually represent real obstacles on the road to the understanding of a notion; therefore they need to be “destroyed” before the right notion can be installed, otherwise they will hinder the acquisition of the correct notion. For instance, the fact that an object might exert a force on an object underneath it is accepted by most people even by young children as soon as the concept of force is presented; on the opposite, the idea that the object lying below the other might exert a force on the object situated on top is counterintuitive and will only be accept by those having attended intensive physics courses. Link what you say with their everyday life, interests, etc. Never induce that what is interesting for you, is of interest for anybody. This is especially true across generations but also across age groups. Each age group has its own interests and lives in its own intellectual environment. Thus what can be of interest for one age group may not capture the attention of another group. As a “pedagogue” it is important that you have a good idea of what is of interest for the various age groups you may be confronted with. Observation is a good way to come to know the interests and the intellectual world of each age group. Therefore, each time you have the opportunity to meet children, adolescents or adults of various age outside your professional environment, observe them and listen to what they say in order to capture what is of interest to them. Keep a record of that and adapt it regularly so that you can take advantage of that when you’ll have to address a specific age group. Accept any question, without judging them As an adult used to talk to other adults, you’ll either find that children do not show enough interest or, at the opposite, that they ask too many (sometimes irrelevant) questions. Always remember however, that questions are good evidence that children are eager to learn something and that they are interested in the domain and in what they suspect you to be able to teach them. Interest will however not last very long if their questions are not dealt with and possibly answered by adults. To give an immediate (and short) answer to a child question is of course the best way to deal with such interrogations. When answering try as much as possible to address it to a larger group of children than to the one who raised it, for instance in asking if anybody knows the answer to that question. At the end of your answer, always make sure that the ”requester” and the people around him or her understood your answer before taking up a new question or going on with your presentation. If, for any good reasons, you cannot answer immediately a question, or think you have no time for further questioning but notice that one child is willing to ask you something, do not behave as if you had not noticed that a question was around. Simply acknowledge it and say that you are going to answer it later on (and do not forget to do so). If you do not understand the question, your reaction should be adapted to the age of the person who asked it. With secondary school children, try to rephrase it and suggest

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different understanding of it before answering it, making sure with the “requester” what he or she exactly had in mind. With primary school children, try to compare the question with so called frequently asked questions, that is questions that have been raised at that point in time, at that place, etc… by groups of children you have dealt with already in previous occasions. Balance action and listening in an appropriate way

In order to capture and keep the interest of the persons you will be talking to, you’ll have to give interesting verbal explanations but also let them explore the reality of the forest world in a more active way. Finding the right balance between letting your audience listen and putting them into action is a difficult question, because this can depend on the nature of topic, the setting and the age of the persons involved. In general, the older the persons the more they accept not to be involved actively, while young children need to be involved actively most of the time and do not tolerate long explanations. Although the previous lines tend to present age groups as discrete entities, this is an oversimplification of the reality. Age groups show indeed different behaviours and specific reactions, but such distinctions are often fuzzy and two persons belonging to a same age group may well act and react quite differently at least on some of the issues discussed above. So our last general principle could well be:

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Be aware that children of a same age group may be very different!

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5.2.4 Didactical methods, teaching styles and their principal characteristics Based on the seminal work of Flanders, didactical methods or teaching styles are generally dispatched in three types: direct, indirect and mixed methods or styles. Direct methods or teaching styles cover top-down interaction paradigms in which the teacher governs both the content to be learned and the organisation of the training. He or she presents the information and the knowledge to acquire and asks pupils questions in order to make sure that they have understood what he or she attempts to transmit. Indirect methods or styles on the contrary qualify a range of methods of teaching in which interactions are initiated by the learner, who solicit the teacher for information and explanation by asking questions or introducing help requests. By contrast to the top-down methods, these methods can be said bottom-up methods or techniques. In between these two types exist a range of methods in which the responsibility for initiating an interaction may be taken by the teacher or by the learners and the decisions concerning the selection of topics to be discussed are agreed upon through discussions and negotiations. Ref: Flanders, N. A. (1970). Analyzing teacher behavior. Reading, Mass : Addison-Wesley P. C.

These three types will be illustrated by examples of activities suited for the forest sector. Direct methods

Frontal teaching (lecture) This method requires specific conditions (aula, chairs, desks or tables, projection, etc‌ ) rarely at hand on the field. It also requires high attention from the audience, which makes it not very well suited for younger children in a highly stimulating environment such as a forest. It is however a method that can be used by forest pedagogues when asked to come to school or give an address to a given community or association. In front of a class we would nevertheless suggest to use the next method (socratic teaching) or more indirect methods rather than the frontal lecture, since they will lead to more satisfying results in terms of children motivation as well as learning. To make frontal teaching more effective and more captivating, the use of visual supports such as pictures flashed on a screen, light powerpoint supports or even short videos are generally recommended. Dialogues (socratic teaching)

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This method is based on a “questions – answers” paradigm, in which the questions are addressed by the “pedagogue” and the answers expected from the children. It is more likely to captivate the audience’s attention than lecturing, but the initial questions have to be thought of very carefully in advance. It is advised to start with rather “easy” questions to which almost all attendees could give correct answers, in order to stimulate them to answer; the pedagogue will then make use of the answers received to build his next questions, as Socrates used to do in Plato’s famous dialogues. Make sure not to enter in a personal dialogue with just one or two students, and try to give as many students as possible the opportunity to answer one of your questions. Both these methods are highly verbal and might be difficult to follow for those who are more able to process visual information than verbal ones.

Video or film presentations, etc… These methods usually capture childrens’ attention more easily than the verbal methods presented above. However always remember that attention is hard to keep and that children are easily distracted, and that, when distracted, they will start to do other things that might be disrupting other childrens’ attention. Moreover, when selecting the video or the film to be presented, make sure that the level of explanation it uses is adapted to the target audience. Remember that explanations are not good or bad per se but have to be tailored to the audience’s cognitive level. Demos

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Many topics related to the forest lend themselves very well to demos and live presentations. The hammering of trees or their cutting down by specialists are good examples of such topics. In contrast to film presentations, within demos you can easily adapt the level of explanation you give while performing them. However, most demos are hard to make visible to an audience of more than 5 to 10 persons, depending on the size of the objects they involve. In front of a class of 20 or more pupils, be prepared to circulate with your demo among the children or to have them come and see each of its steps in small groups. Always arrange it beforehand with the teacher so that the whole group remains under control throughout the demo. Indirect methods In contrast to the so-called direct methods described so far, indirect methods are based on the audience’s inputs. These inputs may be performed verbally, (for instance by asking questions), textually (in the form of essays or productions to which the pedagogue will react) or as activities the pedagogue will be tutoring.

Answering questions While in the socratic teaching paradigm, the questions are formulated by the teacher or the pedagogue, in the “answering questions” paradigm, the questions come from the students. While it is always possible to wait for the questions to come and to answer them directly, it is generally better for the forest pedagogue to have the questions asked ahead of time, so that he can prepare the material and organize the setting in the most suited way to make his answer easily understandable by those who asked them. Therefore, we advice forest pedagogues to try and take advance contact with the regular teacher of the visiting classes and to ask her to collect children’s questions ahead of time. Teachers are better used to children’s questions and know that questions often need to be worked on or rephrased before they can be made intelligible by other persons. If there are too many questions they also can select them through discussion with the class in order to come up with the questions that will interest the larger number of pupils. Finally, they also can help their students to raise questions that are connected to what they are currently dealing with at school and so make a deeper use of such a “Let’s ask the question to a specialist” paradigm. Inquiry based learning Learning to formulate questions is a core element of the so-called “Inquiry based learning” paradigm, a teaching scenario framed as a scientific discovery approach. Its main aim is the active learning by the pupils of the various steps scientists do when they head towards better understanding of natural phenomena. In this paradigm, children will learn these steps not by being told what they are but by being actively involved in whole approach. In contrast to what is usually done at school during lab periods, where the questions to be answered experimentally are given to the pupils, no questions are given in advance in inquiry based learning. It all starts with learning to formulate a relevant question, i.e. a question that is worth posing, and to which an appropriate “scientific” methodology will bring an answer, but also lead to new questions, as all scientists know. Discovery learning

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Discovery learning is a learning theory popularized by pedagogues such as CĂŠlestin Freinet or Jerome Bruner. It postulates that the learners should be confronted with problem solving situations and lead to discover new facts, new relationships or new laws governing these situations, by drawing on their past experience and existing knowledge. In discovery learning scenarios, students are stimulated to explore and manipulate objects, performe experiments and test their own conjectures, generally in small groups. Discovery learning theory postulates that this activity will lead to better remembering of the facts and knowledge discovered by themselves than when these elements are taught to them directly, using a direct method. Ref: Bruner, J.S. (1967). On knowing: Essays for the left hand. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Many developments have been conducted around the principles of discovery learning. Among those, we will set aside the following three scenarios:

• Learning games, quizzes In this paradigm, the learners are treated as players of a game and those who find the right answers win points or stay alive. Of course those who discover the facts, concepts or laws on which the game is based have more chance to win than those answering simply by chance. Treasure hunting or track game activities are loved by children of any age. Such games may be played without opponents but are more fun when players are put in competition with other players. • Problem solving activities and puzzles These scenarios share many characteristics of the learning games except that the answers to come up with are not simply words or numbers, but complete solutions to problems or enigmas. In general, speed in finding the solution is less valued in such activities than in the learning games.

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• Problem based learning The discovery learning model has recently received a new development in the form of the so-called “problem based learning” paradigm. Initially design as a way to set up medical school program, the problem based learning model (often abbreviated PBL) has now penetrated other health sciences, psychology, law, education, economics, business, social studies, and even engineering or mathematics curricula. In this paradigm, only authentic problems are presented to groups of learners, that is problems that can really happen within the profession; groups of students with the assistance of a tutor (also called facilitator) have to engage in discussion and reflection about these problems in order to find out what are the questions and issues such a problem raises, what they already know and what further knowledge they should acquire to make sense of it. To acquire such new knowledge, books, scientific articles, but occasionally also specific lectures on demand deal as the main resources available to problem-based learners. It is expected that in such conditions, learners will not only acquire new knowledge but also develop problem solving skills, professional attitudes, teamwork and self-directed learning skills. « Mixed » methods Besides direct and indirect teaching methods, one can also recognize “hybrid” scenarios, involving both direct and indirect teaching episodes. Problem based learning could indeed also be seen as one of those since it is not incompatible with (and often includes) some direct teaching parts.

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Among the mixed methods, we will now briefly discuss three of them, particularly usable in forest education, guided tours or excursions, training of trainers’ camps and specific missions or care operations. Guided tours

This scenario is considered mixed in that it includes both “direct” explanations by the guide of what is seen during the tour but also indirect answers to the questions participants might ask anytime during the tour.

Training of trainers’ camps As often the case, the guides leading such guided tours are not professionals but persons interested in bringing other persons to discover the beauty of a landscape, the richness of a given site; such guides are willing to spend part of their free time carrying that mission but need, before they can make it, to be informed by professionals of what is remarkable, what is to be explained, what answers they should give to potential questions they might face, etc.

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Specific care operations Regularly, natural sites require specific large-scale interventions such as litter picking, cleaning, etc. In contrast to the previous ones, such operations are not per se teaching or training scenarios, but the presence of experts among large groups of laymen, volunteers most of the time, offer good opportunities for them to learn about nature by asking questions to the experts. Conversely, the experts will have to give information on what to do, why to do it, etc., so that, as a result, in all these scenarios, direct explanations will be mixed with indirect ones throughout the operation.

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5.2.5 On the necessary collaboration between the forest pedagogue and the regular teacher Each visit of a class to the forest needs to be prepared together ahead of time and is certainly worth being extended once the children are back to their regular class. A. What needs to be discussed before a visit takes place

When asking the forest pedagogue to organize a visit for their class, teachers should provide the forest pedagogue with the following information: • • • • • • •

What do they expect from the visit What topics they would like to be focussed on What has already be prepared in class that could be related to the chosen topics and how the children have been prepared to the visit What is the composition of the class, especially number and age of the children, but also other relevant information relative to them such as possible handicaps, behavioural problems, linguistic background, allergies, etc. How many adults will be accompanying the class Which questions and issues particularly triggers the interest of the whole class or of some of the pupils What should be the duration of the visit, etc.

What the forest pedagogue should alert the teachers’ attention to: • • • • • • • • •

How realistic are the project and the expectations of the teacher What would be the ideal period or time of the year to set up the project and perform the visit If the visit can be organized whatever the weather conditions are or if there are some restrictions depending on the meteorology, public health issues, etc. Which would be the best place for the visit to be organized and whereto the teacher should bring the pupils Are there specific dangers related to the visit, such as cliffs, snails, or good opportunities, such as water sources, sheds, picnic areas, etc. Whether making a fire, drinking water, is allowed or not What material he can provide and what should be brought by the class, (with respect to clothes, shoes, but also to class material, if needed, such as paper, pencils, etc.) What activities he can propose to the children given their age, number, interests and conditions How long, based on the indications given by the teacher above and the project established together, such a visit would last.

B. What the forest pedagogue and the teacher should perform together during the visit During the visit the presence of the teacher is recommended since he or she will represent the school authorities and holds the power to punish the pupils if needed,

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which the forest pedagogue can’t do. But the teacher can also assist the forest pedagogue in assuring the group’s security when facing potential dangers or passing through natural obstacles. Finally he or she can be a valuable help in case of accident. The forest pedagogue should however be able to successfully accomplish first help interventions. If he has not been trained to do that already, it is necessary for him to acquire the appropriate skills immediately. Always keep in mind that children are not adults and that the world of the forest is not familiar to them; in such conditions risks of injuries or of other sorts of accidents are therefore quite important and being able to insure rapid and appropriate interventions is often critical.

C. What the forester and the teachers can plan for after the visit to the forest It is likely that children will remember the visit to the forest and that some of the things they have been told there or exposed to will remain vivid in their head for a longer time than a normal day of class. Nevertheless, it could be worth to try and capitalize on this to

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extend the visit by some after visit activities. Among the various possibilities, lets mention the following: •

• •

The forest pedagogue can arrange that the children can take away some elements of the forest, such as leaves, seeds or plants and, back in their class, build with and around them some educationally rich storage systems such as an herbarium, etc. The forest pedagogue can suggest an activity to be conducted in class in order to watch and compare the evolution of natural species of various kinds in different conditions (ex. the growing of a seed in different water, soil or light conditions). The forest pedagogue can present a problem on which the children will have to work on in class, in order to come up with a solution to be presented by email to the forester. Such a scenario can even take the form of an inter-classes contest so as to motivate the children even more to work towards the solution of that problem, individually or as a class.

If the class is motivated to go one step further, it can be encouraged to join a school contest, of the kind of those described in www.ypef.eu

In all these scenarios, however, the forest pedagogue should remain at reach for the teacher, in case a question or an idea comes up in the class that cannot be answered by the teacher alone. In addition to such scenarios, or instead of them when children are too young or when the time requested for such activities is not at disposal, we recommend the teacher setting up with his class a “thank you message” to the forest pedagogue, whatever its format and content, so that children have a chance to think once more to what they have learned from the visit to the forest. D. After thoughts or debriefing: an important thing to do after each class visit Each visit of a class works better than the previous ones, however there are always some aspects, which could have gone better. Once the class has leaved, the conscientious forest pedagogue should take a few minutes to reflect on what just happened, - the positive but also the less positive sides of it -, and think about possible improvements to give to its ticklish (difficult) aspects. Silviva, the Swiss Competence Center for the learning in and through the forest (www.silviva.ch) suggests the following checklist to go through after each visit: • • • • • • • •

What was the aim of the visit? Has it been reached? What went particularly good? Why? Were there parts of the visit, which seemed to me tiresome, stressful? Why? What changes did I have to make to initial program? Why? What unexpected difficulties arise? Did we have a disciplinary problem? When and why? Did the children experience difficulties in understanding what I explained? Which part of the tour would it be possible or worth keeping for further visits?

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• •

What should be modified dropped or reorganized? What in my view was the most impressive moment of this visit?

5.2.6 Lessons from Developmental and Educational Psychology Whoever is familiar with children knows that they develop on a very rapid tempo, with new reactions, behaviours or performances to be seen almost every day. Our brain is however not well equipped to think of realities as continuums. This is why, when we think of the time passing, we tend to slice it in years, days, hours, minutes or seconds, or, are forced to use basic colours to describe tones, such as light blue, dark blue, etc. For that same reason, within the literature on the development of children, this development is generally presented in periods. While developmental psychologists use such distinctions as infancy, adolescence, young adults, etc., in educational psychology, we rather use school labels to articulate these periods, and to define target groups: pre-schoolers, primary school children, secondary school children, etc. This should not be understood as if the change of a school system would per se be a catalyst for change in the personality, attitudes, or reasoning of a child. It is much more for reasons of convenience that these distinctions are made but also because it gives some indications on who will be with them, the kind of knowledge they have already been exposed to as well as the kind of teaching methods they are used to. Since the ages to which these periods correspond may be slightly different from country to country, a standardized periodicity is often used when it comes to discuss on an international basis. The following distinctions adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) within the so-called International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED, generally serves as a basis for making these distinctions. • • • • • •

early childhood/pre-primary (ISCED 0) primary school (ISCED 1) lower secondary school (ISCED 2) upper secondary school (ISCED 3) post-secondary non-tertiary (ISCED 4) tertiary (ISCED 5 – 8)

More about these distinctions can be learned from: http://www.uis.unesco.org/education/pages/international-standard-classification-ofeducation.aspx?SPSLanguage=EN) The presentations made in this module, will be organized around these distinctions.

Early childhood/Pre-primary school children

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Although more and more children go to nursery schools, day care, etc., there is only a small probability that children of that age will visit the forest without their parents. With people they do not know yet, they are often shy and, whenever addressed, they do not easily answer questions or give information. No matter with whom they are, one needs to be aware that they have only limited attention span; however they can be captivated by using fantasy, mystery and magic more than by pure facts or logical and scientific argumentations. In order to capture their attention, a good approach is to personalize the characters and the things, and to integrate animals and species in fairy tale like stories; they will love to listen to what goes on in the forest, and especially be fascinated by everything happening during the night (while they sleep) or in secret places deep in the forest, if the species are baptised Mister Coucou or Miss Lily, if the facts are presented as events and the sceneries are described as places they are familiar with, such as bedrooms, kitchens or playgrounds. To make children of that age develop a good feeling for the forest, and possibly remember what they have been presented there, their visit to the forest should be punctuated by easy to remember events, such as plays, snacks, songs, etc. Remember however that they are not yet well socialized and that they often do not know how to interact properly with other children, without disputing, teasing or screaming.

Primary school children This is certainly the age range in which children are the more curious and most willing to learn new things about their environment. Once captivated, they will ask questions and talk much more easily than younger (or older) children. Nevertheless, attention span remains

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limited at that age, and children need to be involved in activities as soon as possible, so to avoid dispersion, especially when they also show signs of hyperactivity. During primary school, children tend to build exclusive social relationships and to show clear preferences for some of their classmates. This can eventually lead to problems when you’ll ask them to cooperate with others for an activity. If you wish to do this, which is per se a good thing, better let their teacher decide who should cooperate with whom. In most primary school classes, you’ll notice different behaviours among the pupils; being in an environment unfamiliar to them will exacerbate these differences. It is therefore very much likely that you’ll have some children willing to listen to what you are telling them and others trying to disturb them to do so. The wisest thing will be to let the teacher take care of the latters so that you can work with the formers. If this is not possible, do not ignore them or don’t try to force them to be interested if they do not want to. None of these solutions will work. Simply try to avoid letting them disturb their classmates by offering them the possibility to do something else instead and asking them to choose between the two options. It is likely that they will prefer to do what all the others do than what you just suggested. Towards the end of primary school, children will often be entering a so-called preadolescence phase, during which some of the transformations involved in the adolescence process will start. Due to various factors such as nutrition, psychological safety and family care, the age in which the adolescence process starts is regularly lowered (starting approximately 3 months earlier every ten years), so that it is not rare nowadays to watch the adolescence process start as early as 9 or 10, that is within the primary school period. While these early transformations especially concern physical aspects, they might also affect children’s behaviour and their attitudes towards others. During that stage, they will show agitation or signs of boredom and might well laugh derisively. To improve their popularity with their friends, they might well try and laugh on your own expenses, or try to make a fool of you and of your sayings. Or they might want to express special disgust towards (natural) phenomena you are describing. Be prepared to accept such behaviours as a consequence of their age not as a reaction against you. Also accept that at this age, they might suddenly become embarrassed to cooperate with classmates from the other sex. At that age, same sex grouping is a much safer strategy to adopt when asking pupils to perform activities in small groups.

Lower secondary school pupils Approximately at the same time as they enter secondary school, children enter adolescence. Adolescence is both a physiological process and a sociological phenomenon. Statistical comparisons show that adolescence is getting longer and longer, starting earlier and finishing later and later, in many cases even beyond the age of 20. If the duration of the whole process is pretty much equal, important differences can be seen between individuals in terms of age of start and age of end of adolescence. Even at the “body” level, differences of up to 6 years can be observed without being considered by medical doctors and health care specialists as anomalies. Recent data show that the important changes going on during adolescence are important consumers of energy and therefore can be seen as partly responsible for the lack of energy and tiredness generally noticed among adolescents; hormonally driven, these changes also have an impact on the “internal clock” of teenagers, explaining in part why they “naturally” like to wake up late in the morning and are not ready to go to sleep until late in the

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night. Together with the morphological changes they induce, these changes are received by the adolescents with mixed feelings, joy, and hope on the one side but also uncertainty and even fears on the other, ignoring where transformations will bring them and how they will look like at the end of the process. This explains also the shift of their attention from exterior towards interior phenomena, away from what they consider as outside of themselves and towards what they consider as central, their own “look” and the image of themselves they would like to impose to others. At the cognitive level, adolescents discover the power of argumentation and enjoy entering in (intellectual) confrontations with others; this happens with peers but also with adults and all types of authorities; although this is achieved on a verbal basis in priority, it can also be acted in a behavioural way when they fear they might be missing convincing arguments. With peers they might then go into aggressive interactions, with adults they’ll rather adopt interfering behaviours. In class, they will choose to engage in disruptive behaviours and search for ways to get on the teacher’s nerves. Being in the position of a teacher, the forest pedagogue will surely have to face such situations when confronted to young adolescents. Although such reactions are not easy to avoid, they will of course be amplified the more the situation looks like a classroom situation. It is therefore a good idea to avoid as much as possible to “play” the teacher and to “put the adolescents” in the position of pupils. Upper secondary school pupils After the age of 15-16, group phenomena start to decline while individual differences are blooming. Important differences will be seen between girls and boys in terms of interests, attention and behaviours. In general, girls tend to underestimate their capacities in science and to show lower interest for scientific issues. On the contrary, boys often overestimate their capacities and try to make believe they understand science more than they do. At that age also, some have already a clear idea regarding what they will go and study but other don’t. Compared to lower secondary school children, upper secondary ones are more willing to accept “lectures” and can stand longer verbal explanations. On the contrary, they might be reluctant to long walks and endless “tours”. At that age, you’ll probably also notice more than before the constitution of pairs of very close friends, especially among girls. Whenever the activity or the lecture looses interest for them, they soon will engage in private discussions and “off” task behaviours. It is however much easier than with younger children to bring them back to the situation, since they are not doing it for confrontation purposes with the adult but for pursuing an endless exchange with their confident. However, we advise you to do it by asking a question or showing them something especially interesting rather than by pointing out their inattention. Joking about their inattention is also not a good idea, since it will provoke embarrassment and discomfort and may lead to frustrations and negative reactions from the whole classroom. Adults Of course, adults participate in forest-based activities or events on a voluntary basis, which is hardly the case for children and adolescents. This comes with the enormous advantage that their interest is already given and that not much effort is needed to stimulate it. Nevertheless group activities with a group of adults are often as hard conducing as with younger persons due to the huge differences in previous knowledge and attitudes you will be confronted with in such groups. Moreover, with adults, it is hard to estimate in advance what knowledge they

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might have and on what it will be possible to base your explanations. Finally, within groups of adults, you’ll always face the person who will try to capture all your attention and forces you to answer all his or her questions. Such an attitude will discourage other persons to interact with you and will, in turn, lower their interest for and participation in the activity. Try hard to avoid engaging in “private” dialogues with such “egoist” participants and make all your effort to divide your attention to as many persons as possible in the group. In contrast to classes, groups of adults are also generally made of persons of various physical and health conditions. This makes it difficult to tailor activities such as tours, walks or other kind of activities involving long standing dispositions and physical resistance, be it inside as well as outside. Each activity therefore needs to be exactly planed and timed, and this needs to be communicate to the participants ahead of time so that they can decide to join it or not.

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Module 5 2ebook