At Outward Bound, we understand the challenges educators are facing today — navigating curriculums, managing student engagement, and investing time to develop new facilitation skills for your classroom. Your time is valuable, and you care about your students social and academic growth. That’s why the team at the Outward Bound Professional Learning Lab designed The Thriving Classroom. 

These professional development series are live, interactive, virtual sessions built specifically for educators and facilitated by Outward Bound Instructors. You’ll join small groups of your peers in a supportive and safe online environment to connect with each other and discover new skills for engaging your students in learning. Walk away with the ability to translate these skills into tangible plans that support your students’ social and emotional needs

You will gain both philosophical knowledge and practical knowledge.  From the first day, you will learn something new and easy to implement into your classroom

-Kim, School Counselor and Human Development Teacher, The Branson School

There are two unique series—Creating the Supportive Environment and Engaging The Whole Learner each of which has up to six facilitated sessions. Each session is 2.5 hours in length and is available via our virtual classroom. Details about each session can be found below.

Creating the Supportive Environment

Research shows that students learn best when they feel safe and connected to others. The sessions in this series prepare you to create these types of learning environments in your classrooms, whether they are virtual or in person. You will explore the science of belonging and structure, leaving with a deeper understanding of how to support your students socially and emotionally. Expect to walk away with new, tangible tools to apply in your own teaching practice.

Facilitating Belonging: Exploring the power of connection

This session explores what it means to belong and provides techniques and activities for creating a safe space and facilitating connection within a group.

Understanding Belonging: Relationships that promote social, emotional, and academic growth

Drawing from your personal experiences, scientific research, and Outward Bound methodology, this session prepares you to take a comprehensive approach to belonging in your classrooms. 

The Science of Structure: Designing a supportive environment 

When Outward Bound takes students into a new environment, we utilize structure to help students feel safe and open to learning.  With brain science as a guide, you will discover how our approach to structure can help you create supportive learning environments in your own classrooms.  

Implementing Structure: Practices for success 

This session moves from theory to practice, giving you the opportunity to examine your beliefs about structure to build tangible practices for use with your students.

What’s Next?  Creating your supportive environment

In this final session, you will create a tangible plan for implementing these practices to support learners’ social and emotional needs.

Engaging the Whole Learner

This series will prepare you to support your students social and emotional learning (SEL) through explicit instruction and integrating SEL practices into academic curriculum.  Get introduced to Outward Bound’s framework for social-emotional development, engage in activities that promote SEL skill building, and learn practices you can integrate into your teaching.

The Social-Emotional Toolkit: Games and activities for a thriving classroom

Expert Outward Bound facilitators will model activities that you can use in your educational environments, as well as sharing tips and techniques for designing and facilitating effective learning experiences.

All Learning is Social and Emotional: Practices for the classroom

This session defines eight key practices and gives a path toward supporting social-emotional skill development during the course of your daily classroom activities.

Questioning Strategies for Engagement and Learning

Not all questions are created equal. This session helps to identify reasons for inquiry, patterns in questioning, and methods for devising questions. You will develop a palette of questions to engage, challenge and foster deeper learning and awareness.

Promoting Discussion for a Thriving Classroom 

In order to cement the transference of skills—it must be sticky. It’s not about having all the answers, and it is neither fast nor efficient. Promoting Discussion helps us to understand how to create a culture of dialogue. It provides methods for facilitation and practice to help with both planned and improvised discussion.

What’s Next? Engaging the whole learner in your classroom

In this final session, you will create a tangible plan for implementing these practices to support learners’ in your classrooms.

This sparked a fire for me to be more courageous in my classroom.

-Kirby, Classroom Teacher 7th thru 12th graders, Agriculture Science, Oregon State Teacher Educator

Outward Bound Professional Learning Lab

The Outward Bound Professional Learning Lab (The Learning Lab) is a collaborative effort of the Outward Bound USA system and is directed by Outward Bound USA. The purpose of The Learning Lab is to continuously improve the student experience by evaluating program delivery and student outcomes and enhancing professional learning opportunities for staff.

If you’d like to bring this impactful professional development opportunity to your community, email Katie Dalbey, the Director of Learning and Evaluation for Outward Bound USA.

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