Out­door Ed­u­ca­tion

The Australian Education Reporter - - CONTENTS - Most peo­ple know that out­door ac­tiv­i­ties are a key part of school life – but they may not be aware just how vi­tal th­ese out­door learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences can be for stu­dent health and de­vel­op­ment.

OUT­DOOR ed­u­ca­tion is a vi­tal in­stru­ment in a stu­dent de­vel­op­ment.

Here in Aus­tralia, with our Mediter­ranean cli­mate and low-den­sity pop­u­la­tion, even ur­ban ar­eas pro­vide a range of op­por­tu­ni­ties for out­door ed­u­ca­tion prac­tices.

Stu­dents ex­pe­ri­ence the deep per­sonal im­pact of their time in na­ture.

This in­cludes the role of nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments in pro­vid­ing a bal­ance to mod­ern, tech­no­log­i­cally in­tense liv­ing and in sup­port­ing phys­i­cal, so­cial, emo­tional, men­tal and spir­i­tual well­be­ing.

Stu­dents are given unique op­por­tu­ni­ties to re­flect on their own and with oth­ers about them­selves, their re­la­tion­ship with oth­ers, and their place in the world.

The Aus­tralian Cur­ricu­lum on out­door learn­ing man­dates that “any learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that can be un­der­taken in the out­doors or in a nat­u­ral set­ting can con­trib­ute pos­i­tively to a range of learn­ing ar­eas”.

This is com­prised of four di­men­sions, de­vel­oped by the Aus­tralian Cur­ricu­lum Coun­cil As­sess­ment and Re­port­ing Author­ity (ACARA) in con­sul­ta­tion with in­dus­try body Out­door Ed­u­ca­tion Aus­tralia (OEA), an or­gan­i­sa­tion that fa­cil­i­tates com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween State and Ter­ri­tory out­door ed­u­ca­tion as­so­ci­a­tions.

Th­ese di­men­sions are skills and knowl­edge, hu­man-na­ture re­la­tion­ships, con­ser­va­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity, and health and well­be­ing.

Teach­ing meth­ods: 1. As a se­quen­tial, stand­alone sub­ject.

Stu­dents in se­condary schools may elect to un­der­take out­door ed­u­ca­tion as a

SKILLS AND KNOWL­EDGE stand­alone sub­ject, taught by teach­ers from within the school.

Stu­dents learn through di­rect teach­ing in the class­room en­hanced by per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences out­side the class­room in lo­cal en­vi­ron­ments as well as jour­neys to and through nearby nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments.

2. As an an­nual, se­quen­tial field trip and camps pro­gram that may al­low com­po­nents

of other learn­ing ar­eas to be taught.

Stu­dents achieve deep learn­ing through a planned se­quence of year-level camps pro­grammed each year.

In the early pri­mary years, stu­dents may take part in a sleep­over with par­ents/ care­givers on the school grounds, fol­lowed by res­i­den­tial and un­der-can­vas camps, cul­mi­nat­ing in a more ex­ten­sive jour­ney to a nearby nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. The camps can in­clude learn­ing from a range of cur­ricu­lum ar­eas.

3. As a teach­ing method­ol­ogy learn­ing in, about, and for the out­doors,

draw­ing on con­tent from a range of lear ning ar­eas.

Each learn­ing area ex­am­ines how they might use out­door learn­ing as part of the de­liv­ery of their cur­ricu­lum.

This may in­clude us­ing out­door jour­neys as ways to en­gage in lo­cal en­vi­ron­ments to ex­plore con­cepts that have been in­ves­ti­gated in the class­room.

It also might in­volve one or more learn­ing ar­eas com­bin­ing to achieve linked out­comes.

Stu­dents plan and com­plete an out­door jour­ney as the cul­mi­nat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to demon­strate their learn­ing in a range of learn­ing ar­eas.

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