JOEE 25 (3)

JOEE December 2023 Issue

The December 2022 issue of JOEE has six papers from international academics and researchers from Spain, Canada, Scotland and Australia. Topics explored include: helping kindergarten children to identify more with their local environments and also how nature experiences foster a scientific mindset; a Canadian take on the value of post secondary outdoor education; the importance of challenging, singular outdoor activities in providing nuanced learning opportunities; and how best to prepare for another major disruption like Covid-19 from lessons learnt. There’s an additional research paper on research and a book review of an awarding winning US book — something of interest for everyone.

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The perception of the environment through drawing in early childhood education. The case of the wetland of the Albufera in Valencia (Spain)

Amparo Carretón Sanchis, Ignacio García Ferrandis (pic), Javier García Gómez

Sometimes in schools, student don’t have much contact with nearby natural environments. Rather, they often undertake activities in distant environments unlike the reality of the environment in which they live.

This research sought to find out whether kindergarten aged children who live in the Natural Park of the Albufera in Valencia (Spain), have a feeling of belonging and perceive this characteristic natural space as part of their environment. An activity was proposed to the students in which they had to draw nearby places of their liking.

From the analysis of these artworks, six thematic categories were established, two of them corresponding to a perception of the natural environment. The results seem to indicate that children from the area concerned have difficulties in perceiving this natural space as an important part of their environment, despite it being so closely linked to their lives. The paper suggests the appropriate changes with respect to learning about the natural environment in ECE.

Outdoor education in Canadian post-secondary education: common philosophies, goals, and activities

Morten Asfeldt, Rebecca Purc-Stephenson (pic), Thomas Zimmerman
Canada has a long history of outdoor education (OE) in sectors including summer camps, K-12, and post-secondary education (PSE). However, previous research has demonstrated that OE is sometimes poorly understood in the PSE sector leading to program closures and limited program development. As a result, scholars have called for national and international collaboration to promote the value of OE, including identifying common OE learning outcomes and the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings guiding OE practices.

This study sought to identify common philosophies, learning goals, and characteristics of PSE OE in Canada. Findings indicate that PSE OE in Canada is influenced by six common philosophies and includes five common learning goals. Overall, this study demonstrates that OE is well aligned with the common goals and missions of PSE in Canada.

The methodology wars and outdoor and environmental education: Feminism, positivism, and causation

Jack Reed
This paper explores causation in educational research, employing a feminist paradigmatic approach* to investigate the role of causation in outdoor and environmental education (OEE) research. A positivist approach is also considered, asking whether and how research in OEE navigates causation, and the potential influences of this upon competing audiences (e.g., policy makers and funders).

Drawing on a conceptual causal pluralist^ approach to causation within the feminist paradigm, four key touchstones are presented to facilitate inclusive, equitable, and reflexive research for OEE post-pandemic. The paper responds to increasing sociocultural complexity as it is lived and felt within the profession and beyond.

* Belief in or advocacy of women’s social, political, and economic rights, especially with regard to equality of the sexes
# Positivist methodology emphasizes engaging in research in settings where variables can be controlled and manipulated.
^ Causal pluralism acknowledges underlying diversity.

Preparing for the next pandemic: adopt, adapt or improve?

Simon Priest

Outdoor programs suffered greatly during Covid-19, while at the same time, the value of education outdoors was made obvious by several authors who pointed to lower transmission rates outside versus inside.

This article considers the approach for future risks around Covid or other such disruptions and suggest it is wise to invent the future we want by starting now. Despite COVID-19 persisting in many countries, this article shares tactics from several strategic approaches to preparing for the next pandemic: accept the current practices (adopt), modify to suit new conditions (adapt), or find a different and better way (improve). The author favours “IMPROVE” and discusses it and the shortfalls of the other two approaches.

“Immersed within the rock itself”: Student experiences rock climbing in outdoor education

Jack Jane, Brian Wattchow (pic), Glyn Thomas

Outdoor education has a long tradition of using adventurous activities like rock climbing to achieve learning outcomes. However, the arguments for their inclusion have been eroded in recent decades with less emphasis on individual activities and less focus on unique learning potential.

This paper presents the findings of research into one group of secondary school students and their experiences rock climbing while on an OE camp at Mt Arapiles/ Dyurrite in Victoria, Australia. It re-tells their stories about two climbing contexts – top rope and multi pitch climbing. Data collected through interviews were used to retell the student’s stories about their climbing experiences and inform our analysis of how rockclimbing practices may be modified to better suit evolving ideas within outdoor education.

The study highlights the impact that guides have on student’s experiences and the need for program design to be guided by intended learning outcomes. Finally, we recommend more research into students’ lived experiences across the OE curriculum to develop more nuanced outdoor education programs.

Education in nature and learning science in early childhood: a fertile and sustainable symbiosis

Esther García-González (pic< Michela Schenetti

This paper reflects upon the value of education in nature, its features and particularities and especially its relationship with learning science and sustainability early in childhood.

Nature generates questions such as “Why do trees drop their leaves?”, “How does a beetle breathe?” or “What is the name of this flower?”.

To answer these questions, children instinctively investigate. They form hypotheses, make choices and propose solutions. It is their way of training to learn science in the future. Likewise, constant contact with nature encourages ecological awareness, as well sustainable behaviour in harmony with the environment. All of that requires the involvement of the educational community, as well as a paradigm change towards a more complex view of education, issues this paper will focus on.

Undrowned: Black feminist lessons from marine mammals by Alexis Pauline Gumbs – BOOK REVIEW

Melvin Chin-Hao Chan

Undrowned is a book-length meditation for social movements and our whole species based on the subversive and transformative guidance of marine mammals.

Published in 2020, it’s a Whiting Award winner — an American award presented annually to ten emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and drama.

It’s highly original and highly praised with one review saying: ‘Gumbs pushes us out of our comfort zone and into the sea where other species are moving and mothering in what that can teach us how to survive.’

Reviewing for JOEE is  Melvin Chin-Hao Chan, who is with the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education, Faculty of Education,, The University of British Columbia,

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