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Dialogue: “I’m afraid we really don’t have time for questions right now perhaps we’ll have time later.”

Action: The instructor picks up the whiteboard and spells out one of these words in very small cursive handwriting. The hand- writing is so bad that the group cannot decipher it.

Dialogue: “Photosynthesis happens in the mesophyll through cyclic and non-cyclic photophosphorylation in the light- depen- dent reactions followed by the light-independent reactions. You can look these up in your book. Okay. It’s time for us to go for a hike to see some more leaves.”

Action: The instructor turns her/his back to the group and continues talking quickly about leaves while pointing across a field to a distant oak tree that has a few leaves still hanging off its high branches. The instructor walks away from the group while lecturing. Those at the end struggle to hear what s/he is saying. The instructor stops and continues lecturing without waiting for those in the back of the group to catch up. When they do arrive, the instructor walks away and continues lecturing. The back half of the group has no idea what is being said.

Action: The instructor turns her/his back to the group and opens a field guide to a color photograph of a leaf. S/he reads a description, word for word, of a tree not found in the area. The instructor holds up the book and shows a small picture of the tree, but no one can see the picture from where they stand. The instructor misidentifies a tree and, then, tells them to write down the wrong name. The instructor turns her/his back on the group and continues.

Action: One frustrated student asks a question about the in- structor’s purpose in reading about a tree that does not exist there. The instructor walks over to the student and answers the question with her/his back to the rest of the group.

Dialogue: One of the students interrupts, “There’s an elk stand- ing at the edge of the clearing!”

The instructor replies, “Sorry but we really have to finish with the lesson. After all it’s just an elk. You’ll probably see many more of them.”

Dialogue: “Okay, I hope you have learned something about leaves today. I wish we had more time to talk about them, but I’m getting pretty cold out here so I need to cut our lesson short. Have a great day.”

• Did not provide time for students to reflect on what they had learned

• Gave no summary or wrap up • Cut off lesson abruptly because the instructor was not prepared for the weather

• Used a non-interactive lecture style with no openness to student questions

• Used small, illegible handwriting

• Assumed prior knowledge • Failed to spell and define key terms • Moved too quickly through complicated material without explaining the steps

• Positioned so instructor’s back is to group • Failed to bring the group together • Failed to provide all members of the group with the same information. This is one of the more common mistakes made when teaching in the outdoors. • Hiked faster than the group

• Showed irrelevant photos from the field guide • Read about leaves from plants that were not found there • Provided inaccurate information • Failed to bring enough guides for everyone • Demonstrated the “Drag and Brag” (walked people around outdoors and lectured to them with no interaction or inquiry-based learning).

• Did not repeat the question for the group • Answered question so that only the asking student could hear the answer

• Did not allow or use teachable moments


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