Should Students Take Class Outside?


By Lorena Ocampo, Staff Writer

Your alarm beeps at 6 in the morning, and you know what that means—time to get ready for school. You’re getting all dressed up just to be sitting down for 8 hours in a boring classroom; but what if you weren’t stuck in your classroom all day? Instead, you’d be learning outdoors.

Students have been used to being educated inside of a room, but what about outside? Being outside gives you independence and it’s something new to try out. Especially, due to the pandemic we’re trapped in, learning outdoors would do wonders.

Staying outside would actually help with preventing Covid-19. Not only that, but being in an open space would boost our critical thinking and encourage us to explore.

Do you prefer having class indoors or outdoors?

I’ve taken both classes indoors and outdoors and I’m more in favor for classes being held outdoors. I relish the freedom I get compared to having to stay seated for hours in a classroom.

Science teacher Dr. Ricknauth, the Anime Club advisor, remarks, “An outdoor setting is healthier and intellectually more stimulating. If it is possible to have all the teaching tools and aids of an indoor classroom outdoors, then this will be an ideal teaching environment. Science has suggested that an outdoor space is recommended to decrease the spread of the of the corona virus as compared to an enclosed space with poor ventilation as an enclosed classroom. So, if given a choice, I will most definitely choose to teach in an outdoor setting.”

Similarly, sophomore Reinaldo Reyes says, “I like the idea of having classes outdoors. I feel it would be more beneficial for us students to learn in a different place.”

On the other hand, Ms. Caldevilla, an ESOL teacher, said, “I enjoy teaching small classes in my room. My students are more attentive and engaged since they must turn in their assignments during their class periods. Inside my class, I can manage discipline and learning. If we can keep social distance and a safe environment for students, classes indoor work better for me.”

It’s not like teachers are totally opposed to outdoor teaching. Ms. Caldevilla explains, “Of course, classes outside would be great if we could find a way to keep students focused on the lesson. Social distancing would be much easier outside; however, in the outdoors, anything will distract students–from the sound of the birds to the sight of people just walking in the hallways. As a teacher, I have less control of what they are doing if the students are far from me. “

Have you taken a class outside?

Some teachers have taken the time out of their day to teach in a different environment like English teacher Ms. Rodgers. During my sophomore year, she would take us to the cafeteria outdoors and it was a fun experience. It was a relief from always being stuck in a room and at least we got some fresh air.

Ms. Diaz, the graphics and yearbook teacher, said, “We’re outside all the time! Students go outside to do their photography assignments. I explain the assignment in the classroom and provide examples and guides for camera settings. Then students go outside to shoot architecture, nature, outdoor models, stop action or daylight flash. Our beautiful campus provides plenty of opportunities to get gorgeous photos. Yearbook students also must work outside our classroom when they go interview teachers, coaches and students as well as photographing events like the parade, outdoor sports and club photos. If we had to stay inside the classroom, students would be much more limited learning photography techniques.”

Her students seem to agree. Junior Adriana Medal, who used to have photography class with Ms. Diaz, said, “I would most of the time be outside taking pictures. I enjoyed it because I would have the freedom to be outdoors, instead of being in a classroom the entire time.”

Is outside a better learning experience?

I feel like outside would be an amazing learning experience because you get to be out of your own comfort zone and have a little more freedom. It’s not the same scenery as a simple classroom; Outside is all natural and I feel more focused with the lesson and my surroundings.

Senior Alyah Peralta agrees. “Personally as a student,” she said, “I would love to be outdoors to learn. This allows students to have a more interactive learning experience with the real world. Teachers could connect real life issues with their teaching material and visually show students. This could, as well, help students who aren’t as motivated in school to participate more and even improve grades.”

However, junior Justin Strieger replies, “Outside isn’t a good learning experience because it wouldn’t allow us to concentrate and it would still make students procrastinate.”

So, can we do this?

Ms. Guerra, the 11th and 12th grade English teacher, answers, “I have enjoyed conducting class outside in the past, and while I enjoy it, there is a maximum amount of students that this can successfully be done with. Considering the current situation with Covid, the discussion around conducting class outside occurred early, with parents bringing this up as one way to successfully have students return to school. This isn’t usually feasible for several reasons:

“One, class size and school population. I don’t know the magic number, but I would assume max 20-25 (being generous), students can have a successful lesson outside. More, and it begins to become difficult for certain students to hear, or see, or pay attention. With school population, there simply isn’t the CAPACITY to have more than a few classes outside at any given time.

“Two, climate. We humans can provide the illusion of control over many things; one thing we cannot control is the weather. In Miami, it is usually too hot and/or sunny to comfortably have class outside. Never mind if it rains.

“Three, safety. While being outside is thought to better protect students from contracting COVID-19, there are many other security risks to take into consideration, primarily the risk of an active danger/shooter on campus. We run lockdown drills and have hard corners in rooms for a reason—to best protect students in the event of such a situation.”

Junior Denis Garcia seems to understand Ms. Guerra’s concerns. He says, “Having class outside would be something I would consider, only if it wasn’t for all classes. I’m fine with certain classes being outside, but all of them would be a little overwhelming and difficult.”

Would you come back to school if all classes were outdoors?

I currently am taking my courses online and I would return to school physical—if classes were outside. It would help to prevent the Corona virus because of all the fresh air there is, compared to having to be in a classroom with the same air circulating. I genuinely just enjoy spending time outdoors because I don’t feel trapped. Sometimes, I would be sitting on my balcony, while being in class, just to feel more motivated.

Junior Denis Garcia said, “I would come back if all classes were outdoors. It would be fun and I would still be learning the same content, just in a different area. Most of the time in school, I would do my homework in the spill-out area because it’s nice to be somewhere else, other than my classroom.”

However, some students don’t agree with taking classes outside. Junior Brandon Ampie said, “The reason I wouldn’t go back to school is because everybody would still be in contact. Knowing students nowadays, they won’t follow the rules of non-contact procedures and it’ll be way easier to get distracted—as well as multiple noises that can be heard from the outdoors. Weather can also be an issue; you never know what might come up, maybe a very hot or rainy day which can mess up the class’s environment.”

Benefits of having class outdoors

  1. Better test scores

  2. Higher grade point average

  3. Promotes creativity and problem-solving skills

  4. Decreases stress