This issue features 6 papers that cover a diversity of topics from Australian outdoor education tertiary degree outcomes, to the effectiveness of garden teaching, the benefits of being outdoors for adults, diets on outdoor expeditions, and how an Outdoor Adventure leadership program is affecting the health of indigenous participants amongst Canadian First Nations people. Contributors hail from the Canada, California, Scandinavia and Australia.
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Threshold concepts for Australian university outdoor education programs: findings from a Delphi research study
Glyn Thomas, (pic) Heather Grenon, Marcus Morse, Sandy Allen-Craig, Anthony Mangelsdorf
Nineteen different university academics participated in this research that set out to establish a set of threshold concepts that articulate what a student who completes at least a major in outdoor education knows and is able to do. The research . Over two rounds of consultation the six authors of this paper formed the Delphi facilitation team of 19 academics to solicit input and feedback from an expert panel working in university outdoor education programs across Australia. The main outcomes were seven threshold concepts, which are shared in this paper to encourage discussion and invite feedback from a wider range of stakeholders.
Escaping to nature to learn: emotional highs of adult learners
Sandris Zeivots (pic), University of Technology, Sydney.
This study examines the role of nature in relation to emotional highs in adult learning, following the experiences of 21 adults. Three emerging themes are discussed: nature as a sense of escape; learning in nature; and sense of therapy in emotional highs. Nature was seen by participants as a learning environment where temporary escape from one’s customary life is possible. Sense of escape in the education settings was found beneficial because it enabled participants, as learners, to get away from life’s usual distractions and routines, and with available time and permission to reflect – to become someone else. This positively affected learning capacity as participants re-connected with themselves without being bound to familiar and taken-for-granted practices.
Diverse perspectives: gender and leadership in the outdoor education workplace
Rachel Davies, Tom G. Potter (pic), Tonia Gray
Gender roles invariably shape the styles of leadership people assume in outdoor education. This research investigates how society’s value of masculine leadership styles influence instructor and participant understandings of, and experiences in, the outdoors. Six practiced outdoor leaders were interviewed to critique their gendered experiences within the industry. The investigation revealed unconscious bias and sexist views still prevalent in the industry. The paper calls for reimagining ways of moving our gendered leadership understandings and practices forward both at the coalface and during professional training.
Investigating the effectiveness of subject-integrated school garden teaching
Jacob Højgaard Christensen, Karen Wistoft (pic)
This article, by Scandinavian researchers, maps out existing research regarding the effectiveness of subject-integrated school garden teaching. The school subjects of interest are mathematics, languages and science, and subject integration is defined as a link between these subjects and school garden teaching. The article is based on an integrative review and is derived from existing research, which claims that teaching in school gardens has a predominantly positive influence on students’ academic learning outcome. However, experimental studies indicate that some programmes are less effective than more traditional teaching in the subjects concerned.
Peeling back the layers: an exploration of dietary perspectives and practices of journey-based outdoor leaders in an Australian context
Jaclyn Munge, Brendon Munge (pic), Marcus Morse, Adrienne Forsyth
This study identifies factors influencing the dietary practices of outdoor leaders from an Australian outdoor education provider and the resultant strategies they implement to manage their diets. Focus groups explored dietary preferences and motivations for dietary practices, with findings corroborated by field observations on two journey-based programs. Inductive thematic analysis identified three key themes influencing the dietary practices of outdoor leaders: food limitations, personal preferences, and social context.