Wellness and outdoor education

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This keynote presentation to the Victorian Outdoor Education Conference, 27-28 May, 2005 explores "wellness" and "outdoor education".

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Wellness and outdoor education

  1. 1. Wellness & Outdoor Education: Essential Learning for Student Well Being
  2. 2. Outdoor Education & The New World (Montage) Some Images & Possibilities for Outdoor Education – 4 min. video
  3. 3. Some Ideas for Outdoor Education Responses to VELS
  4. 4. A grand experiment is underway…
  5. 5. <ul><li>Never have all of the world's &quot;growth technologies&quot; been fully available to a single culture </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>“ What I find so encouraging…is that all of us—all of us teachers and students of enlightenment—are at this time in history involved in a truly grand experiment. Never have all of the world's &quot;growth technologies&quot; been fully available to a single culture: we have access not only to all of the forms of Western psychotherapy and human potential techniques, we have access to virtually all of the world's great wisdom traditions as well. And we are all now engaged in this &quot;simple yet complex&quot; experiment in how best to balance all of these approaches” </li></ul>
  7. 7. A Paradoxical Age <ul><li>Life expectancy continues to rise but so do rates of psychological disturbance, esp. depression and anxiety (due the volume of antidepressants being taken, traces have can be found in our public water supply). </li></ul><ul><li>Some countries face increasing malnutrition , other countries face increasing obesity , whilst other countries face both trends. </li></ul><ul><li>Social roles have become more fluid, yet work has become more specialized. </li></ul><ul><li>We have more technological efficiency and know-how than ever, yet we find ourselves working harder than ever. </li></ul><ul><li>We have access to more information than ever , but are bewildered by the spiraling array of unsolved problems ( Since 1970, humans have created more stored information than in the previous 5000 years.) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Obesity Trends in Australia <ul><li>Since 1980, there has been 2.5 fold increase in the rates of obesity in Australia. (Cameron et al, 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>A quarter of Australian children are overweight or obese. This has doubled in the last 10 years. </li></ul><ul><li>Almost 70% of Americans of overweight, with Australians close behind </li></ul><ul><li>We are eating fewer calories than we were 20-30 years ago, but we are doing even less exercise </li></ul>
  9. 9. Consumption of Natural Resources Our consumption is outstripping the planet’s creation of natural resources by 20%. (Ref: WWF, 2004)
  10. 10. Consumption per Person in USA “ Americans waste or cause to be wasted nearly 1 million pounds of materials per person per year.” (Ref: Hawken et al, 1999)
  11. 11. Population Growth & Energy Usage
  12. 12. Ecological Footprint If we are not leaving a positive ecological footprint through outdoor education, where do we hope a reverse in human ecological impact is going to come from?
  13. 13. Levels of Change/Growth <ul><li>Self </li></ul><ul><li>Social </li></ul><ul><li>Ecological Impact </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Wei-Jan Chinese for Opportunity Through Danger </li></ul>
  15. 15. Victorian Essential Learning Standards A Whole School Planning Framework <ul><li>3 interwoven purposes: Equip students with capacities to: </li></ul><ul><li>Manage them selves & relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the world </li></ul><ul><li>Act effectively in that world </li></ul>
  16. 16. Effective Program Characteristics <ul><li>1. Physically oriented </li></ul><ul><li>2. Use school context, but outside school location </li></ul><ul><li>3. Residential settings for long duration </li></ul><ul><li>4. Conducted by therapists or trained leaders </li></ul><ul><li>5. Incorporate aims of adolescents, parents & teachers and include them as targets in the program </li></ul>
  17. 19. Retrofitting the Suburbs for Sustainability Food security based on gardening Better health through a culture of home food consumption Economy through home food production and food preservation Firewood for sustainable and ethical energy Passive solar design combined with thermally efficient natural materials
  18. 20. Retrofitting the Suburbs for Sustainability <ul><li>Greenhouses </li></ul><ul><li>Water harvesting </li></ul><ul><li>Wastewater treatment </li></ul><ul><li>Animals in productive garden ecosystems </li></ul><ul><li>Reclaiming the streets </li></ul><ul><li>Creative recycling </li></ul><ul><li>City farms and community gardens </li></ul><ul><li>New ways of trading </li></ul><ul><li>New ways of sharing land </li></ul>
  19. 23. Questions for Outdoor Education <ul><li>Where does OE fit in relation to the standards? </li></ul><ul><li>How does OE respond to the challenge to integrate learning across discipline areas? </li></ul><ul><li>Where are there opportunities for teachers to work more collaboratively? </li></ul>
  20. 24. Questions for Outdoor Education <ul><li>Will your OE program have an emphasis on one particular strand? </li></ul><ul><li>How can discipline-based learning engage with OE? </li></ul><ul><li>How will your school or cluster address the transition between the stages of learning </li></ul>
  21. 25. Unlearning “ The process that allows evolution to occur naturally by removing mental constructions that no longer serve human nature” - Patrick Mooney www.unlearning.org
  22. 26. Adaptation of Outdoor Education to the New World <ul><li>“ Traditional” OE </li></ul><ul><li>“ Non-traditional” OE </li></ul>
  23. 27. <ul><li>e.g., Much delinquency can be seen as a healthy, innate need to take risks, experiment, and find out about one’s abilities and capabilities. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: Parkour Video </li></ul>Efficient, Creative Human-Environment Exploration
  24. 28. Activities, Research, Theory & Models of Outdoor Education
  25. 29. Example Interdisciplinary / Non-Traditional Outdoor Education <ul><li>Physical Education </li></ul><ul><li>Permaculture </li></ul><ul><li>Farm Study </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental Restoration </li></ul><ul><li>Multimedia </li></ul><ul><li>Risk Education </li></ul><ul><li>International </li></ul><ul><li>Urban Adventure </li></ul><ul><li>Extreme Sport </li></ul>
  26. 30. Example Psychological Theory/Models <ul><li>Attempts at Life Change </li></ul><ul><li>Community Building / Social Capital </li></ul><ul><li>Coping Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Ecopsychology </li></ul><ul><li>Resilience </li></ul><ul><li>Readiness for Change / Stages of Change </li></ul><ul><li>Peak Experience </li></ul>
  27. 31. Example Psychological Tools & Instruments <ul><li>Personal & Community Sustainability Audit </li></ul><ul><li>40 Developmental Assets </li></ul><ul><li>Life Effectiveness Questionnaire </li></ul><ul><li>Psychological Resilience </li></ul><ul><li>Psychological Well-Being </li></ul><ul><li>Locus of Control </li></ul><ul><li>Depression & Anxiety </li></ul><ul><li>Ecological Engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Indigenous Rediscovery </li></ul>
  28. 32. Challenge + Support = Growth
  29. 33. Outdoor Education Research
  30. 35. Outdoor Education Research Summary <ul><li>Research on 10,000 outdoor education students has found 3 to 4 out of 5 improve in personal & social skills. </li></ul>
  31. 38. Future Evolution of Outdoor Education? A paradigm shift can stimulate new growth The point is to react creatively before its too late
  32. 39. Adventure Education Theory Hattie, et al, 1997 <ul><li>Immediacy of experience </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult goals </li></ul><ul><li>Supportive environment </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback </li></ul>
  33. 40. Quality Adventure Education? <ul><li>Staff trained in Education and Psychology </li></ul><ul><li>Longer Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Unlock Readiness to Change </li></ul><ul><li>Immediacy of Experience (action-consequence) </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult, specific goals </li></ul><ul><li>Supportive group environment </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Dollops of Feedback’ </li></ul><ul><li>Reevaluation of Coping Processes </li></ul>
  34. 41. Use the Spectrum of Choice Compulsory Tough Love (Impelling) Challenge by Choice Voluntary e.g., incarcerated youth e.g., Outward Bound e.g., Project Adventure e.g., Scouts, D of E
  35. 42. Simple Outdoor Education <ul><li>A backpack, a bit of food, and a plan </li></ul><ul><li>Students can conduct their own expeditions </li></ul><ul><li>Simple gear </li></ul><ul><li>Solo </li></ul>
  36. 43. Holistic Range of Challenges Time Emotional Social Physical Environmental
  37. 44. Qualitative vs Quantitative vs Mixed Method
  38. 45. Copyright vs Public Domain vs Open Source
  39. 46. Off-the-Shelf Tools vs Home Grown Tools
  40. 47. Researching PD Effects <ul><li>Many instruments were inadequate because: </li></ul><ul><li>Too narrow (e.g. Locus of Control) </li></ul><ul><li>Too broad (e.g. 16PF) </li></ul><ul><li>Too long </li></ul><ul><li>Clinical or Assessment focus </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of relevance to aims & effects </li></ul>
  41. 48. Criteria for a New Tool <ul><li>Scope vs. Depth </li></ul><ul><li>Length vs. Complexity </li></ul><ul><li>Relevance to Intervention Aims </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment of Competence </li></ul><ul><li>Sensitivity to Change </li></ul><ul><li>Educational Value </li></ul>
  42. 49. Off-the-Shelf Theory/Models vs Home Grown Theory/Models
  43. 50. Research vs Assessment vs Feedback Tools

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