Sep 27
Walking into Knowledge

​Floodlights and walks across campus: These maybe don’t sound like the usual tools an instructor has in their kit, but Kerry Coulter employs both to great effect with her students in the Child & Youth Care program. Kerry Coulter (2).JPG

Floodlights are a concept Kerry learned from Glenn Hammond in the CAE program. “He taught me the importance of keeping the big picture in mind rather than always drilling down into the details – be the floodlight not the spotlight, he would say,” explains Kerry.

And she uses that floodlight approach when she tells her students to get up, leave the classroom and go for a walk – outside if the weather’s nice, inside if it’s not. She calls this activity a “reflective walk” and she wants students to achieve a specific outcome while they’re walking.

“I put them into pairs and give them a question to guide their conversation,” says Kerry. “I want them to realize that they can learn a lot from each other, that learning isn’t always related to marks and that I don’t need to be there for them to be learning.”

Sometimes the question she asks them to focus on relates to course content; sometimes it’s open-ended and designed to foster relationships among the students. Regardless, the big picture here is about getting students to guide their own learning.

Kerry springs this activity on the class partway into the term, once she has a sense of students as a group of learners, and usually catches them by surprise. “You want us to get up and leave the classroom?” they ask. “To learn? Really?” But once they’ve done it once, “they love it,” says Kerry. “And so do I.” ​


What a unique idea! I am in...

What a unique idea! I am intrigued.
Picture Placeholder: Gail Horvath
  • Gail Horvath
 on 9/27/2019 8:55 AM

I like this! I may do somet...

I like this! I may do something similar!
Picture Placeholder: Andrea McCann-Suchower
  • Andrea McCann-Suchower
 on 9/27/2019 9:04 AM


I was jus...


I was just reviewing a similar technique being used in psychology, whereby counselors are walking with their clients coping with anxiety during sessions.  The walking helps the client flow energy, while processing.

This can be linked to so many different learning outcomes across disciplines.
Picture Placeholder: Lindsay Mulholland
  • Lindsay Mulholland
 on 9/27/2019 9:15 AM

Love it! Thanks for sharing...

Love it! Thanks for sharing Kerry!
Picture Placeholder: Michael Whalen
  • Michael Whalen
 on 9/27/2019 9:23 AM

I really like this idea of ...

I really like this idea of a reflective walk, Kerry! I've been reading a bit about movement, connection, and creativity these days. There is research that shows that some people can more easily verbalize their thoughts while walking or jogging - especially when eye contact is not always necessary. Pauses also feel less awkward (one could be looking at the scenery). Great job!
Picture Placeholder: Sherry L Seymour
  • Sherry L Seymour
 on 9/27/2019 9:51 AM

If you have ever asked your...

If you have ever asked yourself the question... "How do I connect with kinesthetic learners?" …. this is a starting point. :)
Picture Placeholder: Keith Penhall
  • Keith Penhall
 on 9/27/2019 10:05 AM

Amanda/Kerry, what a great ...

Amanda/Kerry, what a great article... such a simple idea coupled with some well designed discussion questions and some fresh air.  Glen Hammond's reflective walks are some of my happiest memories from my CAE.
Picture Placeholder: Teresa L. Menzies
  • Teresa L. Menzies
 on 9/27/2019 12:21 PM

Thanks for sharing your exp...

Thanks for sharing your experience Kerry and for integrating a tried-and-true approach to learning, into your practice!
Picture Placeholder: Judy McGuirk
  • Judy McGuirk
 on 9/30/2019 11:31 AM