Thesis Title

Factors Influencing Teachers' Use of an Outdoor Classroom

Date of Graduation

Summer 1999


Master of Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Janice Greene


The development of an outdoor classroom as an extension of the school campus has increased in recent years. The Missouri Department of Conservation has provided grant monies to schools in Missouri through the Show-Me Conservation Outdoor Classroom Grant Program to aid with development costs. This research examined the factors that may be influencing the frequency of teachers' use of an outdoor classroom when there is one available to them. The Missouri Outdoor Classroom Survey (MOCS) was designed to begin to understand these influencing factors. Two parts, influencing factor domains and demographics, were designed to assess their influence on the frequency of use. There were five influencing factor domains: appropriateness of setting, safety concerns, teacher confidence, student concerns, and administrative constraints. Respondent demographics included grade level, subject discipline, frequency of personal outdoor recreation, attendance at a class/workshop on nature/environment, education, age, gender, teaching experience, and length of the outdoor classrooms' presence at the school. Results indicated that numerous factors were influencing how often teachers used an outdoor classroom. Respondents were enthusiastic about using an outdoor classroom as an educational tool and felt their students would benefit from it. The teacher's grade level, subject discipline, frequency of personal outdoor recreation, and attendance at a class/workshop on nature/environment were shown to be significant influences.

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© Jon L. Lucadamo