Walking, thinking

In this teaching activity, developed by ESPhil lecturer Catherine Koekoek, students discover the impact of going outside, moving their body and paying attention to their surroundings. A great way to bring concrete, personal experiences into the (virtual) classroom. 

Sending students outside for a walk with a small assignment is a simple and effective approach to let them discover their surroundings and reflect. A change of scenery and movement helps to create new perspectives and shows that education involves more than staring at a screen or being in a classroom.

Activity goal
Exchange knowledge | Practice skills | Reflect
In class | Post class
Hybrid | Offline | Online
< 30 minutes| < 60 minutes| > 60 minutes
Group size
Small | Medium

MS Teams, Zoom, Canvas discussions, Miro

Step 1

During or at the end of a lecture, give students a small assignment to find an example of the concept(s) discussed in the lecture in their real-life surroundings. 

Step 2

Send the students out for a short walk (5-30 minutes) to formulate their response, look for cues outdoors, make a photograph or a drawing from something in their environment that connects to the concepts discussed. 

Step 3

After the walk, let students upload one image and/or a short description of their findings on a discussion board.

Step 4

You could also discuss the input collectively in the session once everyone is back.

This teaching activity has been developed and added to teachEUR by Catherine Koekoek (ESPHil) in collaboration with Setareh Noorani. 


The workshop was part of a course module on ‘walking philosophy’ and was preceded by an interactive lecture where the texts and questions that we used in the workshop were discussed. Afterwards, the students had to submit their weekly assignment, where they answered the question “What is walking philosophy” according to their own experiences. They answered this question in many different forms + a short reflection, for example, one student made a choreography and recorded a dance movie, students went for a walk and made a transcription of their conversation, or they wrote an essay. In this way we received input from the students about what they learned about their bodies, environments, situations – in relation to their philosophical thinking.

Consider the tools and materials mentioned here as suggestions. In many cases it’s possible to use alternative tools. Please turn to the Learning & Innovation team of your faculty (EUR or Erasmus MC) first to see which online and offline tools are available and how to apply them. 

This teaching activity can be used in an offline as well as an online situation.

For online you can use MS Teams or Zoom for the meeting and Canvas discussion or Miro for sharing images or drawings that students made during their walk. 

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