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JournalISSN: 0022-3336

Journal of Outdoor Education 

About: Journal of Outdoor Education is an academic journal. The journal publishes majorly in the area(s): Outdoor education & Environmental education. It has an ISSN identifier of 0022-3336. Over the lifetime, 79 publication(s) have been published receiving 920 citation(s).

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Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: A growing body of literature indicates that humans need contact with nature for their wellbeing, however at the same time young children are becoming increasingly separated from the natural world as their access to the outdoors diminishes. The importance of school and prior-to-school settings in Connecting children with nature has been acknowledged. This study sought to find out how opportunities to engage with nature would influence children’s play and social behaviours. Two early childhood centres with contrasting outdoor environments were selected for the study, and twelve focus participants were observed over a twelve-week period in concert with interviews and field notes. The findings suggest that natural environments support children’s imaginative play, the development of positive relationships and allows for the environment to become a place of learning. The authors conclude that in order to make effective use of the outdoors, early childhood centres need to provide children with access to the natural environment and teachers who support children in developing a relationship with nature.

138 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Outdoor adventure activities, typically originating from other countries, form the basis of most Australian outdoor education programs. Research on adventure-based outdoor education in Australia and elsewhere has tended to focus on determining the benefits of participating in such programs. Less attention has been paid to a critical examination of the educational rationale for the use of adventure activities in outdoor education contexts. This paper draws on contemporary outdoor education literature, particularly socially and culturally critical perspectives, to highlight educational issues and questions about the nature and role of adventure activities in outdoor education. It draws particular attention to issues related to social justice and environmental education objectives and suggests a need for further scrutiny of the congruence between theory and practice. ********* I recall many Christmases in Victoria, Australia, where, on hot, 30+C days, our family sat down to a large roast dinner followed by plum pudding. By the time we had finished eating all this hot food we could hardly move and spent the rest of the afternoon sitting around digesting it. This always seemed a strange practice to me and on questioning my mother about it I usually received the explanation that it was tradition, or that this is what we do at Christmas. She wasn't at all enthused about my suggestion that we change this tradition to eat lighter, 'summer' foods for Christmas dinner. I always wondered why we persisted with a practice that seemed so inappropriate in the Australian context, and why it was so difficult to change something as simple as the lunch menu? I have similar questions about some outdoor education practice. Why, for example, do we structure many of our programs around activities that involve driving for hours to access particular environments? Why do we do cross-country skiing or whitewater paddling in the flattest, driest continent (apart from Antarctica) in the world? Why do we seek out cliffs for abseiling or climbing? What are people learning from these experiences? Why doesn't more outdoor education occur in or near the areas where we live? Why are most of our programs shaped around particular adventure activities rather than other outdoor activities? Are Australian outdoor education programs shaped mainly by British and northern hemisphere 'traditions', like Christmas dinner, or are there more robust educational rationales for conducting such activities? These are the kinds of questions explored in this paper. The intention is to consider educational issues relating to the use of outdoor adventure activities in Australian outdoor education by drawing on literature that critiques such practice. The paper does not attempt to examine literature relating to adventure education outcomes or to the use of outdoor adventure for recreational, developmental or therapeutic purposes. This paper poses questions rather than answers in the hope that it will engender further discussion, and perhaps research, on this topic. Outdoor adventure in outdoor education To adventure in the natural environment is consciously to take up a challenge that will demand the best of our capabilities--physically, mentally and emotionally. It is a state of mind that will initially accept unpleasant feelings of fear, uncertainty and discomfort, and the need for luck, because we instinctively know that if we are successful, these will be counterbalanced by opposite feelings of exhilaration and joy (Mortlock, 1987, p. 19). Aspects of Mortlock's definition of adventure may be questionable. For example, does outdoor adventure necessarily demand the best of our capabilities and, to what degree is luck necessary or desirable? However, this definition resonates with others such as Priest's (1999a) where the common elements are uncertainty due to some level of risk and the challenge of applying one's competence to overcome the risk and uncertainty. …

65 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Outdoor education literature has a recent history of examining its practice through a variety of sociological, philosophical, psychological, and anthropological lenses. Following this trend, this paper explores the face-to-face social interaction of a fictional introductory rock-climbing course. The analysis of this creative fiction draws on Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical framework, as described in his book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959). The discussion highlights how participants and instructors on a practical skill development weekend are involved in the complex endeavour of projecting and sustaining impressions for each other. Goffman’s concepts regarding the ways in which humans conceal and reveal information about themselves may offer outdoor education instructors and researchers a helpful perspective through which they can consider how individual participants’ actions are influenced by the perceived expectations of the different audiences they encounter.

51 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Recently, the place of adventure activities in outdoor education has become contentious, particularly in Australia and the United Kingdom. It can be challenging for outdoor leaders to incorporate adventure activities with attempts to foster environmental awareness, understanding and action. Recently, some authors have suggested practitioners eliminate the tension by removing adventure activities from outdoor environmental education programs altogether. This paper presents the findings of an ongoing action research project exploring ways to resolve the tension between using adventure activities and helping participants to learn about particular regions, communities, and their histories. The research described in this paper utilised thematic analysis of data collected through a professional journal, focus groups, and student writing. The emerging themes included: the need to capitalise on teachable moments; the importance of managing the technical nature of adventure activities; the importance of deliberate planning and facilitation; and the need for careful consideration of the impact of program length or duration.

46 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: In this paper I describe my experience in attempting to assist tertiary students connect with the natural environment through outdoor and environmental education experiences The paper addresses research conducted with students undertaking an outdoor and environmental education degree and focuses on the pedagogical methods employed in this context I argue that outdoor and environmental education practitioners may benefit from moving away from a mode of teaching based upon 'generic' methods and look instead to a more local, specific and contextual form of education By describing an outdoor and environmental education journey in a local, 'ordinary' place and students' experiences in unearthing the stories embedded in this place, I aim to provide some practical strategies to engage young people in a direct and meaningful way The intention is to broaden the pedagogical possibilities related to facilitating experiences in natural environments and thus contribute to bridging the rhetoric/reality gap in outdoor education

38 citations

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