Wild Pedagogies in the  Classroom

A playful take at describing Wild Pedagiges.

Written By Bob Henderson

For the Spring Issue 2020 of PATHWAYS: The Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education

Wild Pedagogies can be understood as:


Too much answering. Not enough questioning.

Too much sport. Not enough play.

Too much risk. Not enough curiosity.

Too much complication. Not enough complexity.

Too much wilderness. Not enough self-willed land.

Too much known/managed. Not enough unknown/explored.

Too much arrogance. Not enough humility.

Too much human-centred. Not enough more-than-human-centred.

Too much teacher. Not enough nature.

Too much teacher --> student. Not enough teacher <--> student.

Too much somber learning. Not enough joyous learning.


Please feel free to add to this list.


In its simplest expression, Wild Pedagogies has been described as re-wilding education. Of course, it is more than that but this is an effective start. What if the "RE" theme was continued.


Wild Pedagogies can be understood as:


RE-wilding education

RE-thinking wilderness as self-willed land

RE-imagining the exercise of control

RE-embracing complexity

RE-shaping practices for culture change

RE-thinking the pace of change cognizant of time and patience

Wild pedagogies rest on two premises:

First, human relationships with Earth are not sustainable. 

Second, education is a necessary partner in any transformational project of the scale required to address the first premise.

It will not be enough to simply reform existing educational institutions, it is suggested that they must be re-wilded.

This will involve a striving for guided student agency and belonging with the more-than-human world implying action-taking to work within and for this world.

Such an educational project will take time, patience and must be centrally attentive to notions and actions for culture change.