Laying down a path in walking: Student teachers’ emerging ecological identities

Donald S. Gray, Laura Colucci-Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is growing global awareness of the importance of what are often labelled as ‘natural environments’ for human health, well-being and cognitive development. However, fostering learning in such ‘natural environments’, as they may be differently experienced and understood, requires a review of theoretical and practical approaches in teacher education, foregrounding the sensorial, experiential, embodied and relational dimensions of learning processes. This paper presents the results of an exploratory study on the experiences of a group of first year undergraduate student teachers enrolled in a newly introduced course on outdoor learning. Adopting a pragmatic and enactivist mixed methods approach, the study provides evidence of impact of the course on the students. Specifically, the study contributes a qualitative description of student teachers’ learning trajectories, featuring what students deemed to be significant moments of an emerging ecological awareness. Findings point to important implications for curriculum and pedagogy, promoting environmental consciousness in formal teacher education contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-364
Number of pages24
JournalEnvironmental Education Research
Issue number3
Early online date29 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019


  • outdoor learning
  • ecological identity
  • enactivism
  • nature connectedness


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