A Walking Curriculum: Learning From Risk and Connection


  • Astrid Steele


environmental education, risk, connection, curriculum, teacher development


The act of walking has been described as “an exquisitely coordinated and elegant falling forward and catching oneself” (Kabat-Zinn, 2013, p. 125). Each step that we take is a physical risk in which we surrender our bodies into space, and only when our feet (re)connect with the earth do we find stability and are able to move forward. I propose that risk and connection are critical elements of a walking curriculum within an environmental education course for teacher candidates. The concept of risk is explored, and I describe a variety of course activities that involve taking physical, emotional or professional risks. The concept of connection is also examined with a particular focus on humans as integral to the natural world; and again, I describe course activities that provide opportunities for teacher candidates to experience connections to the natural world and to each other. Environment as the third teacher is explored, and lastly I reflect on my position as the instructor who facilitates learning opportunities for the teacher candidates in our course.

Author Biography

Astrid Steele

Astrid Steele is an Associate Professor (recently retired) at Nipissing University, with a strong background in outdoor, environmental and sustainability education, as well as secondary science education. Her current interests are in teacher development in science and environmental education, and in microaggressions related to teaching and learning.