JOEE 23(2)

JOEE July 2020 Issue

The July 2020 issue of JOEE features seven papers from researchers around the world looking at mindfulness, the legacy of maps, and Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model to name just three. Additionally, we have a 23-author paper (primarily the JOEE editorial board) discussing the Covid-19 pandemic and the future of outdoor and environmental education. 

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What future/s for outdoor and environmental education in a world that has contended with COVID-19?

John Quay (pic), Tonia Gray, Glyn Thomas, Sandy Allen-Craig, Morten Asfeldt, Soren Andkjaer, Simon Beames, Marg Cosgriff, Janet Dyment, Pete Higgins, Susanna Ho, Mark Leather, Denise Mitten, Marcus Morse, James Neill, Chris North, Rowena Passy, Kirsti Pedersen-Gurholt, Scott Polley, Alistair Stewart, Takako Takano, Sue Waite & Dorothy Foley

This is an unusual article in that it brings together the perspectives of many on this journal’s editorial board, around the issue of contending with COVID-19. Twenty statements showcase a range of thoughts and experiences, highlighting the differences and similarities in the way the pandemic is impacting on the educational practice of outdoor and environmental education. Contributors hail from Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Japan, Denmark, Norway and Singapore.

Mindfulness as a tool for place-based educators

S. Anthony Deringer (pic), Jan S. Hodges & Kent Griffin


Recent theoretical research suggests that socio-cognitive mindfulness and place-based education, when used together, may have a synergistic benefit. The purpose of the study was to examine how mindfulness influences the experience of educators engaged in place-based teaching. A qualitative, constructivist grounded theory approach was used to guide data collection and analysis related to teachers at a school that has placed-based education (PBE) as a central theme.

The legacy of maps: breaking the link between maps and navigation in order to experience place

Chris Loynes


Embedded in all outdoor activities, are a set of values that reflect the cultural conditions of the time in which the activity was first developed for educational purposes. Using Bernstein’s curriculum constructs, this paper examines what, in relation to navigation, these values are, from where they arose and whether and in what way these values are present today. The alternative of navigation without maps and compasses is then considered.

Communities caring for land and nature in Victoria

Bruce A. McGregor & Ann M. McGregor

Increasing evidence shows that humans need nature in order to live happy and healthy lives. Given the serious and escalating threats to nature, nature needs our help for its – and our – survival. This article explores this topic through personal examples, based on 40 years of activism, and the roles that community organisations have played in caring for land and nature in a local area in inner Melbourne, on a regional scale along a creek corridor and then on a State-wide scale. Contributions by countless volunteers and community groups caring for nature have been essential to enable people to use and enjoy the outdoors in natural Victoria.

“I Gotta Touch that?” Attitudes and Self-Efficacy of Pre-Service Teachers Regarding Scary or Disgusting Science

Nichole Nageotte, Gayle Buck (pic)

This study focused on teaching efforts to prepare preservice teachers to teach children about ecological concepts that many find scary or disgusting. Specifically, the paper examined attitudes preservice teachers had towards certain invertebrates. The study concludes that we need to find ways to help new teachers improve their attitudes towards uncomfortable ecosystem aspects of the outdoors. The authors hail from Ohio and Indiana.

Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model: a theoretical framework to explore the forest school approach?

Marie Claire Murphy, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, Ireland

In response to some past criticism, Irish School — and Forest School — teacher, Marie Claire Murphy, explores the Bio-Ecological (Bronfenbrenner 1979; Bronfenbrenner and Morris 1998, 2006) model as a framework that may be applied to research regarding the forest school approach. Her aim is to ensure that research is rigorous and robust in its approach to the collection and analysis of the empirical data. This paper outlines how future research may record the child’s voice through the consideration of their cultural context for future forest school practice.

An investigation of moderators of change and the influence of the instructor on outdoor orientation program participants’ biophilic expressions

Nathan W. Meltzer, Andrew J. Bobilya (pic), Denise Mitten, W. Brad Faircloth & Resa M. Chandler 

Five US academics (from different states) explore various moderators that might influence the effect of participation in an outdoor orientation program on first-year college students’ relationships with the natural world. They also examine the potential influence of instructors on participants’ biophilic expression.

Eighty-five first-year college students participating in a 21-day outdoor orientation program were assessed at the program’s start and end. The moderators were 1) prior summer camp experience, 2) prior wilderness experience program (WEP) participation, and 3) preference for type of time in the outdoors (alone or with others).

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