Uncertainty in Outdoor Education

Mr Peter Smith1
1University of Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs , Australia; 2University of Western Sydney, Sydney, Australia; 3Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Perth, Australia; 4Coefficient Pty Ltd, Brisbane, Australia


Preston B Cline (2007) states
‘We know why outdoor education is critical, because the experiences that we offer allow students to interact with uncertainty that few other methodologies allow.’ p 7

Cline’s observation is further supported by evidence gathered while teaching outdoor education, programs which have elements of uncertainty built into curriculum tend to be successful. Students learn through not knowing outcomes, therefore developing skills of problem solving, resilience and divergent thinking to name but a few.

This interactive workshop will involve a conversation around using the element of uncertainty to enhance student learning in the outdoors.

A few discussion talking points
1 Uncertainty in Outdoor Learning – Definition, measurement?
2 Strategies for enabling future generations to manage change and uncertainty
3 Risk Management
4 Adventure

Obviously, risk management is paramount in OE programming and there is no part of me that wishes it compromised, But I firmly believe that to implement factors of unpredictability, chance and uncertainty into our teaching objectives is beneficial for outdoor education as a collective.

Come by to be part of this lively debate about the future direction of OE pedagogy.

Reference List
Cline, P (2007) Learning to Interact with Uncertainty Inaugural Outdoor Education Australia Risk Management Conference, Ballarat Victoria 20 September 2007 www.outdooreducationaustralia.org.au/conferences/2007/rmc.html

Peter has been facilitating outdoor learning for a diverse range of learners for 3 decades. Currently he can be found inspiring students at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Paddle Queensland and The Outdoor Education Consultants. This work is balanced with doctoral studies at University of Western Sydney, where he is interesting in the pedagogy of outdoor education. Pete believes that OE needs to be taught more widely and more often, because the unique pedagogy leads to monumental changes in peoples lives. It is more that mere education it is a societal change agent, leading to integrated and diverse communities.

A passionate telemark skier, paddler and #twitter poet Pete is happiest when undertaking a journey outdoors.

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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