Wilderness Immersion Tuning: Education with Evolution and Neuroscience in Mind

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Chris Beeman Eric B. Walton


These combined two papers make the case that certain kinds of learning in relatively less human-directed environments, which we call wilderness immersion tuning, not only make good evolutionary and neuroscience sense, but are needed for the optimal growth and learning of young people. The paper is presented in two parts. Part One makes a neuroscience-based case for learning in certain ways in wild spaces. It considers the philosophical idea of humans as embodied learners. It provides a connection between recent neuroscience discoveries and empirical studies highlighting the effectiveness of learning in nature. Part Two extends these neuroscience discoveries and particularly explores psycho-social maturation through learning in less human-controlled places. It calls for learning in wild places for early adolescent students. While the two parts are separated in order to meet editorial guidelines, they are necessarily intertwined and ought to be read as parts of a whole.

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