Escape from Treasure Island. Using an initiative task to explore elements of group functioning.

Mr Joss Rankin1
1Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia


Group initiative tasks have been a staple of many outdoor programs for some time and continue to be applied in a range of contexts. Changes to the Australian National Curriculum and, more recently in South Australia, the South Australian Certificate of Education have identified a role for challenge activities and group dynamics within Physical Education curriculum. Since these changes have been implemented in a range of contexts I have witnessed many interpretations of what a challenge activity might look like and what the associated learning could be. I have been prompted to consider whether the essence of group functioning is being lost in group work. Are initiative tasks assisting the process of learning about being an effective member of a group or simply an opportunity to participate in one? This practical workshop is designed as one example of the deliberate design and delivery of a group initiative task to construct a learning experience that can promote student understanding of key elements of successful group functioning.

Joss is a lecturer in the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University and a member of the Sport, Health and Physical Education teaching team. After some time working as an outdoor instructor and sport coach during his studies Joss worked in education for 9 years, predominantly as a Health and Physical Education and Outdoor Education teacher. His roles were in a range of schools in both regional and metropolitan South Australia as well as Cambridgeshire in England before moving to tertiary education to work as a lecturer in Health and Physical Education at the University of South Australia. In 2017 Joss moved to Flinders University and currently coordinates and teaches into Foundations of Physical Education, Introduction to Education in Outdoor Environments, Outdoor Adventures, Introduction to Outdoor Activity Leadership and Facilitating Learning and Development in Outdoor Environments. A major focus for Joss in beginning at Flinders University was to advocate for, design and implement their new offering in Outdoor Education. Joss has been involved in a range of sporting, physical education and outdoor organisations and continues to connect with schools through a range of partnerships. As a member of OEASA and ACHPER, Joss enjoys sharing his work at a range of conferences and continues to advocate for Health, Outdoor and Physical Education.

About OEA and Outdoors NSW

Outdoor Education Australia (OEA)  was established in 2006 as a national network of outdoor education associations. The organisation facilitates communication between state and territory outdoor education associations about the practice and delivery of outdoor education; advocates for outdoor education across primary, secondary and tertiary education; and provides policy advice.

Outdoors NSW is the go-to place for all things outdoors in NSW.

The peak body for the outdoors in NSW, the organisation, (formerly known as ORIC), represents the outdoor community, advances outdoor standards, safety and practices, and fosters greater participation in the outdoors.

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