James Nottingham's Blog

Reflections from a World of Education


A wonderful innovation that’s well worth exploring is Out-Smart. Developed by Paul Dearlove during his time at the award-winning N-RAIS project (Northumberland’s Raising Aspirations in Society project), the approach combines outdoor adventure with thinking skills strategies.

Though many people will say that problem-solving activities in the outdoors are nothing new, Paul’s approach is different: Out-Smart focuses as much on the reflective process and on making thinking visible as it does on the “initiative games”.

Key questions that Paul asks Out-Smart learners include: what is an appreciative team; what learning dispositions do we want to grow; how can our response to challenge in the outdoors be applied to learning in the classroom; and can reflection be as active as adventure?

To find out more about Out-Smart, visit Paul’s website or read Radical Encouragement by Williams and Wegerif. JN

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