Education Conference

What is outdoor education? Knowing, doing and being.

What is outdoor education? Knowing, doing and being.

What is outdoor education? Yes, that hoary old question again. In this session I want to take a look at the development of outdoor education in Victoria over the last forty years or so, drawing on various views people have expressed about outdoor education in schools. I want to compare these with developments in outdoor education as they have occurred, broadly speaking, in the USA. But my interest is not just historical. Using these perspectives I want to highlight difficult questions around curriculum and pedagogy that outdoor educators have faced and continue to face – questions that are often raised around times of curriculum change. Based on this picture, I argue that educationally, outdoor education addresses more than just knowing and doing, and works with ways of being. This presents a challenge to how we generally understand education – usually viewed through the lenses of curriculum (content) and pedagogy (process) – and suggests that we must go beyond these to consider ways of being as educational aims: a broader conception of curriculum.

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