We define physical environment in external controls as the natural environment and climate surrounding the school and also the location of the school within any man-made infrastructure.
The surrounding environment of a school is able to support Great Learning. Schools that actively engage learners within their immediate environment help to make learning meaningful and authentic. At Danube we are lucky enough to enjoy the high standard of wellbeing that is offered by the city of Vienna. As a consequence, outdoor learning is able to take place within the community and sport and leisure activities can be conducted at a local park.
However, a positive impact on Great Learning is only possible if a school’s surrounding physical environment is safe and suitable. Some environmental conditions such as situations of conflict or high levels of air pollution restrict opportunities for meaningful connections between learners and their surroundings. For example, schools situated in major cities that suffer from pollution and smog are restricted with the amount of outdoor sport that can take place. Furthermore, outdoor curriculum opportunities can be restricted by extreme climates.
We feel that Great Learning will be enabled when the physical environment has an agreeable climate and there are minimal health and safety concerns. We also believe that Great Learning is enhanced when authentic learning opportunities exist in the local environment of the school.