Increasing student readiness and deepening learning through pre- and post-activity Outdoor Education – case studies from a sequential Year 2-12 Outdoor Education Program

Mr Darren Osmond1, Miss Emma Beveridge1
1Trinity Anglican School, Cairns, Australia


Trinity Anglican School is a K-12 Independent school in Cairns, Tropical North Queensland, with a well-developed outdoor education program spanning years 2-12. While we get the opportunity to work with all students each year on a program, the actual activity itself is normally short and being outdoor education teachers in a school we have a unique opportunity to engage with students before and after programs, both face-to-face and through various learning platforms and resources.

March and Wattchow (1990) identified four “critical” phases of an adventure education experience, being conceptualization, preparation, action and reflection. We utilise these phases as a framework to identify how we can best increase student readiness for programs and most importantly deepen and transfer learning.

We will share our practices in the conceptualization phase by looking at how previous program videos and social media posts can be used to excite and educate students (and parents) about upcoming programs. In the preparation phase we will examine tools used at both primary and secondary levels, including program briefings, student resource booklets, cross-curricular learning and student preparation lessons facilitated through Stile. For the action phase we will investigate the use of group resource folders (bush google) and manky maps. In relation to the reflection phase we will present examples of resources used for students to process the experience to ensure maximal transfer or learning. These include student feedback mechanisms, reflection tasks accessible by parents, program booklets and a student learning reminder resource, along with some cross-curricular learning opportunities.

Darren Osmond and Emma Beveridge have been the two full-time outdoor education teachers running the Outdoor Education Program at Trinity Anglican School in Cairns since the beginning of 2017. They both attend every single program from Year 2-12 inclusive and, being based at the main school campus, have a unique opportunity to fully integrate the outdoor education program into the school fabric. This is further enhanced due to Darren being a member of the Senior Leadership Team, holding the position of Director of Co-Curricular also. Both Darren and Emma have a passion for maximizing student learning in all situations, with a focus on fostering this learning outside of the actual programs. They presented on a related topic at the 2018 National Outdoor Education Conference which was well received, so aim to expand on this from a pre- and post-activity perspective and to share ideas with others in 2020.

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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