Nature Related Pedagogies

The Nature Related Pedagogies research group brings together academic researchers, practitioner researchers (including EdD students), schools and the voluntary sector to promote inter-organisational collaboration and knowledge creation with a focus on nature related pedagogies for wellbeing. As a community of practice, we co-create and critically evaluate theories of educational practice through innovative and creative exploratory research, including knowledge exchange, action research and evaluative inquiry.

Group leaders: Dr Avril Rowley and Dr Naomi McLeod

Current research themes

  • Restrictive Curriculum policy change and the impact on school improvement.
  • A critical lens on innovative, transformational nature based pedagogical approaches to enhance learning and teaching.
  • Impact of aspirational nature-based outreach programmes in schools on disadvantaged pupils.
  • Mental health, Wellbeing and Character Education initiatives, including Relationships Education, Health Education, Peer Massage and Mindfulness in learning.
  • Education for Sustainable Development agendas and initiatives, including Global Learning, Philosophy for Children (P4C), Outdoor Nature Learning.
  • Posthuman perspectives in education.

We are a multidisciplinary group with members from a range of theoretical backgrounds, educational perspectives and methodological expertise.  This diverse range has created a forum for collaborative action research, the development of evaluation tools, case studies, participatory research, critical policy analysis and critical discourse studies. This breadth and depth of methodological expertise, coupled with our passion for innovative and creative approaches to research, puts us in a key position to partner with external stakeholders including both primary and secondary schools and the voluntary sector to research the impact of nature related pedagogies for wellbeing. 

Current projects

  • Towards a Natural Curriculum: Preservice teachers’ perspectives of the tensions and contradictions in the use of outdoor learning pedagogies across the primary curriculum.
  • Primary teacher trainees’ experiences of teaching outdoor science as part of a taught module and the impact on their willingness to teach outdoors on placement.
  • Empowering Nature Literacy: The Role of Educators in a Changing World.
  • Animals for therapeutic effect in education.
  • Emotional regulation through nature related learning.
  • Connecting schools to nature using digital technology.
  • Book proposal about Nature Related Pedagogies for Wellbeing.
  • Developing outdoor play and facilities in local primary schools.
  • Engaging Physical Education students in outdoor adventurous activities.


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