Looking Up and Out: The future of engaging responsibly outside the classroom

Mr Aaron Pittaway1
1World Challange, South Melbourne, Australia


There were just 25 million tourist arrivals in 1950. In 2018 there were 1.4 billion, a 56-fold increase in 68 years (UNWTO). Regardless of whether we are hitting the outdoors as tourists, volunteers, on educational tours, or a family holiday we all have an ever increasing impact on the country, community, animals and environment in which we travel. We all need to take responsibility for our actions to ensure the impact is positive and we do no harm. Responsible travel is about the attitude we take and the choices we make when travelling and engaging in the world around us – to respect and benefit the local people, their cultures, economies and the environment.
While it’s up to all of us to be conscientious individuals. Schools can play a fundamental role in educating young people to be responsible in the way they engage with the environments around them. Through school based program where students step outside of their school environment, they can learn to leave lighter footprints, invest their travel dollars in local communities, show respect and curiosity for different cultures and traditions, and experience genuine connections with the people they meet along the way.
At World Challenge we have been on a journey to build real life experiences which promote cross-cultural understanding. We are also minimising plastic waste, avoiding and educating others on the exploitation of the vulnerable (including women, children and animals) and making steps towards environmental conservation.
At the National Outdoor Education Conference 2020 we are requesting a presentation slot to share our learnings on:
1. The background research
2. Our journey, the learnings and reflections to assist schools to reflect on their own programs
3. To showcase what is possible
4. To provide resources for schools

Aaron is the National Manager for World Challenge with over seventeen years of experience in the education sector. As a Classroom Teacher Aaron taught across Australia and the UK and as an Assistant Principal for a low socioeconomic high school in Dallas Texas.
Over the past 18 months Aaron has been part of World Challenges’ global team driving the direction around responsible engagements and in partnership with Save the Children, Rethink, Forget Me Not and Monash University has presented on the topic at Symposiums across Australia
He has also spent time as a Learning and Development Consultant for a global environmental sustainability firm and has a Masters in International Relations.

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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