"Thoughts and Strategies for Teaching Outside during COVID-19 Pandemic"

Title: "Thoughts and Strategies for Teaching Outside during COVID-19 Pandemic"
Format: Internet Publication
Publication Date: November 2020
Published In: TECHStyle
Publisher Writing & Communication Program, Georgia Tech

I’ve always wanted to teach outside, and the COVID-19 pandemic practically forced me into it. As an environmental humanist who teaches courses on settler-colonialism and the Anthropocene, being outside seemed like an opportunity to engage with nature and have students be able to relate our work to a more immediate world. For numerous reasons, both mundane (the weather) and complex (accessibility for students and my own job market precarity) I had been reluctant. As reports began to show that being outside and distant were the safest ways to gather during this continuing pandemic and after I was informed that I had to teach some in-person classes, I turned outside. Teaching outside can be effective when teachers and students have the tools and the spaces they need. Lessons can approach or even exceed what they are inside. Not every school has made appropriate preparations for teaching outside though, which means instructors have to figure it out on their own. What I found, building my outside pedagogy from the ground up, was that teaching outside can help draw tangible connections among environmental course materials. Teaching outside, though, requires more preparation and different kinds of preparation that consider the challenges of being in the open air, like noise, weather, and technology.

Related Departments:
  • School of Literature, Media, and Communication