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A Pedagogy of Place

Chapter 2

Outdoor Education:
Myths, Dubious Claims and the Denial of Place

In this chapter we intend to question and discuss some of the underlying beliefs and assumptions about outdoor education that we believe can act as denials of place. As indicated in the introductory chapter this is not an attempt to diminish or undermine the value of quality outdoor education as part of young people’s educational experiences. Contemporary practice sees a great number of staff and students getting outside into the environment and, in the main, that is a good thing. Our intent here is to shift the focus towards a more empathetic appreciation of the experience of the learner, the significance of place, and the consequences of certain aspects of outdoor education philosophy and practice.

The emphasis on gaining a greater understanding of oneself and improving interpersonal relationships is frequently deemed to be the primary foci of outdoor adventure education (OAE) programs (Ewert and Garvey 2007; Priest and Gass 1997). A number of Australasian writers (Cosgriff 2008; Payne and Wattchow 2008) have argued that the historical priority given to personal and social outcomes has kept particular outdoor pursuits and adventure activities at the forefront of many programs. This, they suggest, has created a situation where the field has become preoccupied with notions of adventure, risk and challenge, and the personal and social benefits which are believed to accrue from being immersed in outdoor recreation culture. In addition, Mike Brown (2009) has argued that the continuing emphasis on personal development as a key educational objective has led to the use of teaching and learning strategies that are largely based on an understanding that learning occurs via the cognitive processing of experiences. In this view the individual is seen as an autonomous agent who is capable of internalising experiences and applying the new knowledge acquired in an OAE program to other real-life contexts. This set of beliefs about the individual learner’s capacity to cognitively evaluate, articulate, transfer and apply learning has, we argue, become entrenched in outdoor education practice. These beliefs now function at the level of taken-for-granted cornerstones of practice and as such are rarely questioned. But there are elements of this approach that are problematic and potentially impoverish opportunities for other types of learning.

While we acknowledge that at both global and local levels outdoor education practices may have evolved differently in response to particular social, historical, geographic, economic and ecological conditions, there are some common characteristics embedded in practice, particularly the repertoire of activities, ‘that signal how the identity of outdoor education has been constructed’ (Payne and Wattchow 2008, 26). Through our teaching experiences in various settings we have observed that, in some instances at least, there appeared to be vivid examples of ‘fabricated’ or ‘theme-park’ elements utilised to facilitate personal or social development. For example, we have seen the use of a number of interconnected shipping containers to simulate a caving experience or, more ironically, the construction of a mock ice-climbing tower (in the tropics) to simulate a mountaineering ascent. These developments illustrate a focus on the novel and the exotic. Such facilities supposedly act as a vehicle for personal and social development, but they can ignore and override local geographies and sensibility to local affordances. The same might be said of the use of climbing gymnasiums, bouldering walls, challenge ropes courses and artificial whitewater rapids in Australia and New Zealand. Each of these constructed environments act as simulations of the outdoors, where nature is supposedly made more accessible, predictable and affordable.

Should similar concerns be raised about outdoor education experiences that are conducted in more ‘natural’ environs? Take, for example, an overnight bushwalk in a national park. In many instances where one walks is dictated by park management and camping sites are pre-determined. Dangerous sections of tracks have guardrails. Viewing platforms are arranged so that walkers can pause and take in the best views, and facilities such as benches, toilets and so on are often provided. Such are the trade-offs, it is argued, when catering for mass recreation (and education) in an outdoor space whose primary objective is ecological preservation. But how does this managed experience influence the learner and learning outcomes? Once again, our intent is not to suggest that any of these forms of educational practice should be abandoned. Rather they might each require a different pedagogic response and more cautious and humble claims about what can be achieved educationally in particular settings and via certain activities.

The influence of imperial and militaristic traditions on contemporary OAE practice has been well articulated by others (see Beedie 1995/6; Brookes 2002; Cook 1999; Lugg 2004; Lynch 2006; Nicol 2002a, 2002b). The finger prints of these traditions are visible in practises where nature becomes a site for building character or self-development through arduous self-propelled travel, or the development of leadership qualities through the performance of contrived tasks in simulations and role playing. While these influences continue in many programs it has recently been suggested that outdoor education is continuing to undergo fragmentation because of the impacts of increasing middle-class affluence and social hierarchies, technological developments (e.g. in equipment) along with media representations of nature and the cultural images (e.g. extreme sports) associated with recreating in natural environments (Payne and Wattchow 2008). In this chapter we attempt to draw together what we have termed the myths, dubious claims and denials of place evident in contemporary outdoor education.

It is undoubtedly easy to write a provocative critique. Yet what we are striving to do is not to disregard either the socio-historical trajectory of outdoor education or the significant contribution and goodwill of many practitioners and writers that have preceded us. Instead, we want to make a case that outdoor education must adapt and evolve with the social and ecological imperatives of the times. We are suggesting that it has never been more apposite than now for a reconsideration of outdoor education philosophy and practice. We are conscious that there is no universal outdoor education prescription, but we are also aware that the theories and practices that are currently dominant have arisen in particular social, cultural, geographical and historical settings. By exposing what is hidden, or omitted, we hope to open up new ways of thinking about and enacting outdoor education, which is cognisant of the places participants experience via outdoor education, and the places where they live.

The myths, dubious claims and denials that we raise and discuss in this chapter are not based merely on our opinions. Rather they reflect significant changes in thinking about some of the foundational beliefs and practices that underpin our field. We draw extensively on emergent professional discourse about the problems and possibilities of outdoor education philosophies and practices. Perhaps some of the assumptions and claims about outdoor education have ‘had good legs’ up until now, because as a field our resources are spread thinly. However, as we mentioned in the opening chapter, outdoor education can no longer be considered to be in its infancy. It now requires a sustained and defensible set of values and practices. This process, we suggest, begins by exposing some of our most cherished ideas and ideals to the harsh light of critique.

Romantic notions of nature

The first denial of place in outdoor education we will consider is encountered through what may be called a Romantic desire to return to wild nature. The Tasmanian geographer and poet Peter Hay (2002, 4) argues that Romanticism was ‘a nineteenth century movement of reaction against the values, tastes, ideas of the preceding century’. The Romantic ideal encouraged people to dream of a transformation for all humankind through imagining an alternative to industrial despotism. Hay suggests that Romanticism has been particularly influential in the development of subsequent environmental philosophies and in the greening of an alternative worldview in Western culture. He goes on to say that it was Romanticism that served as the ecological impulse to launch the modern environment movement. It provided the cultural template for a renewed sensibility to nature. No doubt, most of us would see these developments as overwhelmingly positive and it would be frightening to contemplate a world even more dominated by the rise of modern industrialism than the current one.

European Romanticism can be seen as a reaction against Enlightenment empiricism, rationalism, materialism and its offshoots, such as imperial expansion, industrial capitalism, rapid urbanisation and large-scale environmental despoliation. The literary scholar Jonathan Bate (2000) suggests that Romantic writers and artists proposed a number of pathways along which society might travel in a return to nature. One vision was for the formation of small-scale republics of ‘free men living amidst the untamed forms of nature’ (p. 40). This, it was believed, would model how society should be configured. It was also proposed that periods of self-imposed exclusion from society might provide the solitude necessary so that the human spirit, crushed by a society which was becoming dispassionate to both nature and the spiritual needs of society, could be fulfilled. Many of these ideas grew out of European primitivism and the ideas of the 18th century French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

When the Romantic poets (like William Wordsworth or Samuel Coleridge) or artists (such as J. M. W. Turner or John Constable) walked or stood amidst the elemental forces of sun, wind and rain they experienced the ‘clearest medium through which God showed His power and excellency’ (Nash 1982, 46). Cronon (1996) suggests that it is from Romanticism that we have inherited the idea that by experiencing the vastness and grandeur of outdoor places we truly gain a sense of our insignificance and are reminded of our mortality. Romanticism was a search for the essential, spiritual quality of humanity in a rapid changing world. For the Romantics, ‘God was [encountered] on the mountaintop, in the chasm, in the waterfall, in the thundercloud, in the rainbow, in the sunset’ (Cronon 1996, 73). Spiritual fulfilment was no longer to be found in the grit and greed of the industrial city, or even in the cathedral. Instead, it was out there in the wilds. Romantic literature abounds with narratives set in the outdoors where nature was deliberately sought out for its health, educational and spiritual benefits (Macfarlane 2003). The artists and writers of the Romantic period sought the sublime experience, a return to nature to rediscover meaning and a lifestyle apparently denied by modern society. It was, writes Australian scholar Kate Rigby in her book Topographies of the Sacred (2004, 18), ‘the rebirth of nature’.

It was the view of the majestic waterfall or the exhilaration felt in the storm sweeping across the mountain that provided the celebration of the might and awesomeness of nature necessary for the romantic traveller to reconsider his or her relations with the natural world. Such a response to the outdoors has been evident in antipodean writing and art since European colonisation and continues to profoundly influence our attitudes, visions, and physical explorations (Horne 2005; Park 2006). In our times, the quintessential Romantic landscape, in its New World setting, is no longer the rustic cottage set against the high moor or the bucolic scene of the peasant farmer bringing in the barley. Now, it is wilderness.

Snow-covered volcanic mountain set against blue sky

“Spiritual fulfilment was no longer to be found in the grit and greed of the
industrial city, or even in the cathedral. Instead, it was out there in the wilds.”

It is not so much the Romantic’s return to nature that troubles American landscape historian William Cronon, as it is the modern corollary of nature as a placeless wilderness. Nature, as wilderness, is now ‘harvested for a psychic yield’ (Price 1996, 190). In so doing,

we graft meanings onto nature to make sense out of modern middle-class life, and then define ourselves by what we think nature means. Authenticity, simplicity, reality, uniqueness, purity, health, beauty, the primitive, the autochthonous, adventure, the exotic, innocence, solitude, freedom, leisure, peace. (p. 190)

Let us look at some examples. In Australia the emergence of the wilderness preservation movement as a political force – via campaigns such as those to preserve Lake Pedder and the Franklin River – tells much about how cultural preferences for a particular type of nature aesthetic and experience have changed in recent times. The Australian historian Peter Read (1996, 142) concluded that ‘since the 1980s, most special places threatened with destruction must, to be saved, be capable of being universalised’. However there is a cost, for as Read continues, ‘the Outsiders – the decision makers no longer understand specific localities in relation to their specific meanings’ (p. 143). The annual wilderness calendar has become utter distillation of this New World wilderness ideal. A sweeping vista with huge depth of field reveals a crisply focused, lichen-encrusted boulder in the foreground. Our gaze then traces a line to the perfectly lit hills on the horizon. There is not a building, bench, road, or person in sight. It is a perfect view set before us so that we can project ourselves into the scene.

The Romantic sentiment, both in its original form and its more recent manifestations, is persistent and influential. The Romantics launched the ascendancy of outdoor places as desirable destinations. The experiences they sought in nature combined a heady mix of ideas that embraced temporary solitude from society, a search for self-knowledge and personal improvement, ideals about living in the small-scale communities, and a belief in the wilderness experience as a spiritual quest for personal meaning. This then is the original template for the foundation principles of outdoor education as an education for self, others and nature.

Kurt Hahn, the founder of the Outward Bound movement, was a keen reader of Rousseau, in particular his treatise on child-centred and nature-based education in Emile (1762). Rousseau’s legacy can be seen in the idealised notion of a small band of adventurers heading out into remote country, and in the desire to return home changed and inspired to fulfil one’s civic duty in repairing a broken society. These ideas are codified in Walsh and Golins’ (1976) description of the Outward Bound process. Rousseau’s influence, through Kurt Hahn, is echoed in Outward Bound New Zealand’s vision statement ‘Helping to create “better people, better communities, better world.”’
(http://www.outwardbound.co.nz/7.0.html accessed 15 October 2009). In New Zealand a consortium of schools have formed Outdoor Education New Zealand (ODENZ) to attract overseas students. Learning is ‘based on some of the world’s most exhilarating outdoor experiences’ in ‘New Zealand’s outdoor adventure-land’ (ODENZ 2009). Not surprisingly these programs claim to offer students ‘challenging practical programs designed to encourage personal and social development’ (ODENZ 2009). The universalised nature of the offering, which fits well with New Zealand’s (supposed) clean and green image, is a modern iteration of Romantic philosophy. For, as Lynch and Moore (2004, 5) remind us, ‘“Adventure-land” is no place, a wilderness, a myth, without social and cultural history or meaning’.

Wilderness, as a placeless and universalised wild nature, has come to stand outside of time and space (Gill 1999). Alternative landscapes and histories are erased, argues Gill, as wilderness becomes hyper-separated, ‘founded on a logic of otherness … “defined” by the absence of humanity’ (p. 55). It is Romanticism that provides us with the persistent cultural template of nature as a pristine wild space, an idea we run to in retreat from the dehumanising and unnatural influence of the modern industrial city.

In Nourishing Terrains: Australian Aboriginal Views of Landscape and Wilderness (1996), the anthropologist Deborah Bird Rose suggests that

A definition of wilderness which excludes the active presence of humanity may suit contemporary people’s longing for places of peace, natural beauty, and spiritual presence, uncontaminated by their own culture. But definitions which claim that these landscapes are ‘natural’ miss the whole point of the nourishing Australian terrains. (p. 18)

According to Rose, the traditional peoples of Australia lived in reciprocal union with their ‘country’, each nourishing the other. The two cultures, settler and Indigenous, therefore, developed very different relationships with these places. We return to this theme in the next chapter. The legacy of European Romanticism, and how it influences and informs the philosophy of outdoor education, is not unproblematic. It is cultural baggage that we cart with us on our various journeys outdoors. It may be said that, without the Romantic poets, thinkers and artists, we may have had no outdoors to retreat into at all.

We have only discussed briefly here the legacy of Romantic ideal and its transportation to New World countries such as Australia and New Zealand. It is only part of the broader complex of Imperialism and colonisation that saw settler cultures from Europe confront indigenous peoples and very different ecological systems on the far sides of the world. The collected essays in William Adams and Martin Mulligan’s (2003) book Decolonizing Nature: Strategies for Conservation in a Post-colonial Era provide a far more expansive debate of the cultural and ecological consequences that have arisen from European colonisation and what may be required to repair some of the damage already done.

What are the consequences of this legacy for outdoor education and a sense of place in New World countries such as Australia and New Zealand? When we promote nature as a wilderness we risk ignoring or obliterating the local meaning of places, including their ecology, contested cultural histories and ongoing politics. Nature as wilderness is seen as pristine, fixed and simplified. But when nature is seen as a place it is messy, contested and constantly changing. Nature as wilderness is only one of many possible ways to encounter and interpret outdoor places. It relies on a sense of cultural amnesia about the reality of places, both their ecological condition and their often troubling cultural history. To borrow again from Geoff Park (1995, 14), a place-based experience, rather than a wilderness one, may help reveal what Naipaul classed ‘“the wiped-out, complete past below one’s feet”; the truths, often unpleasant, about ourselves and our attitudes and perceptions that the landscape divulges along with its native ecology’.

Adventure and the pedagogy of risk

The second way that outdoor education potentially denies place concerns the promotion of adventure as a radical alternative to normality. This is coupled with the belief that taking risks is inherently positive. Outdoor education pedagogy, based on variations of Colin Mortlock’s (1984) model of adventure or Peter Martin and Simon Priest’s (1986) Adventure Experience Paradigm, invariably attempts to balance risk and the learner’s level of competence with educational benefits. These benefits are typically articulated as growth in various psychological constructs such as self-esteem, self-efficacy, or self-actualisation. In The Adventure Alternative Colin Mortlock (1984) proposed that adventure is

a state of mind that will initially accept unpleasant feelings of fear, uncertainty and discomfort, and the need for luck, because we instinctively know that, if we are successful, these will be counterbalanced by opposite feelings of exhilaration and joy. (p. 19)

He also claimed that a ‘journey with a degree of uncertainty in the “University of the Wilderness”’ may well lead to ‘one of the greatest experiences of your life’ (1984, 19). If conditions and state of mind of the participant are right, according to Mortlock, they might experience a ‘frontier adventure’. More recently Ewert and Garvey (2007, 22) have stated that ‘inherent in adventure education is the inclusion of activities and experiences that often include elements of danger or risk and uncertain outcomes’. An adventurous pedagogy of risk is troubling for place as it has overtones of a progressive and imperial ideology. It is taken for granted that learners must leave the ‘familiar, comfortable and predictable world for uncomfortable new territory’ (Luckner and Nadler 1997, 28). Luckner and Nadler (1997) draw on a stereotypical image of the American frontier, the band of adventurous seekers, and what they might expect to encounter as they reach the boundary of their known world.

At the ‘edge’ is where many explorers turned back because of the lack of water or food, battles with Native American Indians, or an inability to endure and tolerate the continual fears and apprehension. Breaking through the edge into the realm of possibilities and the land of gold was thereby suppressed. It is the journey between the two worlds, where processing the experience is most important. (p. 28–29)

Confronting the risks at the ‘edge’, the ‘frontier’ and venturing beyond one’s comfort zone is considered something that will be rewarded (at least by the colonisers). In this portrayal the physical location becomes a featureless backdrop for overcoming metaphorical or literal obstacles and challenges. Clothed in imperialistic metaphors, or viewed as a series of psychological hurdles to confront and conquer, this positions the participant’s lived experience ‘as a type of decontextualised and disembodied dress rehearsal’ for later life (Payne 2000, 188). Local stories, legends, myths, the subtle tone of water on stone, the languages of insects and the wind; the ‘interpenetrating webwork of perceptions and sensations’ (Abram 1996a, 65) are erased. The underlying fundamental assumption, it would seem, that guides how outdoor places are explored by participants, requires those places to be rendered as abstract and emptied spaces in order that they may be colonised by the achievements of the learner.

While outdoor education texts promote notions of adventure, risk, and uncertainty and extol the virtues and supposedly intrinsic values of a peak experience as a contrast to the humdrum ‘anxieties of modern existence’ (Mortlock 1984, 19) there have been few attempts to move beyond accepted definitions of adventure or to provide a sound educational justification for the use of risk as an effective learning strategy.

Paradoxical aspects of adventure

Pip Lynch and Kevin Moore (2004) suggest that the popularity of adventure, both recreationally and educationally, has arisen from the belief that adventure experiences are radically different from those of everyday life. Lynch and Moore highlight two paradoxes about the nature of adventure experiences. First, those seeking adventure utilise wherever possible technological devices (e.g. synthetic materials and fabrics, satellite navigational equipment and communication devices, and so on) to both invent new activities and to minimise risk. Second, there is a tension between adventure as an outlet or fillip from the constraining influences of modern society and ‘the extensive centrality of notions and ideologies of adventure in the history, literature and process of economic expansion of those same societies’ (Lynch and Moore 2004, 3). They suggest that notions of adventure are

swathed in paradox. At different times it has been conceived as either the route to securing the future or the means of opening up uncertainty and therefore possibility (Nerlich, 1987); it has been instrumental as an ideology supporting the physical and economic expansion of states and empires (Nerlich, 1987) or promoted as a therapeutic catalyst for intrapersonal self-development. (p. 3)

The modern-day risk taker seeks an adventure as an escape from modernity, not realising that the phenomenon is ‘tightly determined and modified by cultural, social and economic settings’ (Lynch and Moore 2004, 3). Sociologists’ analyses of the ‘risk society’, in which individuals are required to negotiate risk and uncertainty as they construct their own biographies, have been well articulated (see Beck 1992; Giddens 1991). Thus day-to-day life can be viewed as an adventure involving uncertainty and risk. Outdoor education’s promotion of risk, and the stretching of the learner’s comfort zone as a means to self-improvement, finds support within this wider discourse. The taking of organised risks at school camps, for example, supposedly prepares students for the risks they will face as they move to adulthood. In this view the idea of adventure has been largely understood as a socio-psychological phenomenon which Lynch and Moore suggest is consistent ‘with the conceptualisation of leisure as essentially involving psychological states and processes and social-psychological variables such as perceived freedom and intrinsic motivation’ (Lynch and Moore 2004, 4). While uncertainty is without doubt an undeniable aspect of everyday life, the issue we wish to address is the manipulation of risk and the promotion of stressful situations to push individuals outside their comfort zone as a sound pedagogical principle. The elevation of the adventure (and risk taking) as being central to outdoor education pedagogy is well illustrated in the following extract.

To maximize safety, adventure professionals structure risk in a manner that causes participants to perceive it as being enormously high, while in actuality it is much lower than perceived and more acceptable as a medium for producing functional change and growth. By responding to seemingly insurmountable tasks, participants often learn to overcome self-imposed perceptions of their capabilities to succeed. (Priest and Gass 1997, 17)

While the issues surrounding the first paradox and the implications for outdoor education have been well discussed (see Cuthbertson et al. 2004; Foley et al. 2003; Loeffler 1999; McAvoy 1999; Payne and Wattchow 2008; Wattchow 2001a), it is the second that Lynch and Moore tease out in more detail. They argue that an ideology of adventure has played a crucial role in the development of the modern, industrialised world economy yet it is paradoxically promoted as an escape from that world. They suggest that ‘adventure is a reflexive feature of modernity’ (Lynch and Moore 2004, 4).

Drawing on the writings of Nerlich (1987) and Zweig (1974), Lynch and Moore argue that risk taking and adventure have underpinned, and always have been, central pillars of capitalist commerce. Bourgeois interests were served by adopting adventures in commerce as a means to gain wealth and social standing. For the merchant adventurer there was the challenge of the physical journey (often involving a sea voyage) and there ‘was also adventure (risk, uncertainty) in the investment with money in those journeys for the purpose of trading exchanges’ (Lynch and Moore 2004, 7). As affluence grew the merchant was no longer required to physically venture – this became the role of the employee. However, as the ideology of adventure persisted a transformation occurred in which the concept moved from adventure, or taking risks, for material gain to an undertaking devoid of obvious financial gain. The modern adventurer now deliberately seeks out risk. Interestingly Lynch and Moore argue that adventure has three overlapping roles in modern western societies:

  • It is a source of continuity and stability in times of change. It links us to the central precepts of capitalism.
  • Adventure can be used as an ideological tool to foster the acceptance and naturalness of constant change. Lynch and Moore contend that adventure is valorised as a natural human condition, which is preferable to the supposedly non-progressive traditions of pre-industrialised peoples.
  • Adventure becomes available as a tool of personal agency as individuals seek to construct their identity in modern times.

Thus, suggest Lynch and Moore, adventure ideology is both the continuing manifestation of the social and economic relations embedded in capitalism and a means of constructing one’s identity – of linking oneself with the broader discourse of Western capitalism. Placing adventure within this wider social, historical and cultural context requires a questioning of assumptions which view adventure as primarily the endeavours and experiences of individuals (or sub-groups) and explanations of behaviour that rely on psychological constructs. To promote adventure as a route to personal development overlooks and denies the socio-cultural and historical explanations of this central tenet. It places an undue emphasis on the learner, as an individual adventurer, to make meaning of their experiences which are invariably bound by, and often hidden within, broader discourses.

Assumptions concerning the benefits of risk

The taking of risks is seen as an integral aspect of outdoor education programs that promote adventure for personal and group development. Examples of the centrality of risk abound in the literature. For example, John Miles and Simon Priest (1990, 1) have stated that ‘Adventure education involves the purposeful planning and implementation of educational processes that involve risk in some way’. Elsewhere Simon Priest and Michael Gass (1997) have asserted that risk is an integral component of the outdoor adventure education model and one of the reasons it is popular and successful. In addition, Scott Wurdinger (1997, 43) has suggested that risk ‘is the element that distinguishes adventure education from other educational fields’.

The impetus to use risk as a pedagogical tool in outdoor education is closely linked to the Romantic notions of nature and the cultural ascriptions accorded to the heroic adventurer in Western literature. In a rigorous cultural history of the outdoor recreational pursuit of mountain climbing, Macfarlane (2003) traced the rise of outdoor risk taking as a relatively late development within the Romantic response to nature. According to Macfarlane, it became popular for people to actively seek exposure to ‘pleasurable fear’ (p. 73) to re-experience the intensity of life that had become dulled in modern society. Paraphrasing Macfarlane, Brian Wattchow (2007, 17) states that ‘the pursuit of pleasurable fear required the wild landscape to be culturally constructed as a testing ground’. For the first time the sublime vision for nature as awesome and intensely beautiful was extended to embrace the voluntary experience of danger. The notion of ‘pleasurable fear’ finds its modern equivalent, in the discourse of outdoor education, in the use of risk (creating uncertainty) and challenge to push learners’ outside their comfort zone. It is here, in the zone of ‘pleasurable fear’, that people supposedly learn and grow.

The structuring of risk, so that participants perceive it to be greater than it really is (which is itself is a contentious distinction), is considered ‘acceptable as a medium for producing functional change and growth’ (Priest and Gass 1997, 17). It is purported that by achieving ‘seemingly insurmountable tasks’ participants will move beyond their ‘self-imposed perceptions of their capabilities to succeed’ (p. 17). Thus risk is seen to play a positive role in the growth and development of individuals and teams. From this perspective, personal growth is dependent on the participant being placed in a setting containing an element, or at the very least the perception, of being at risk (Estrellas 1996). However, Brent Wolfe and Diane Samdahl (2005) have questioned whether taking challenges involving risk necessarily leads to positive outcomes. They have suggested that there are several underlying assumptions regarding the value of risk. The first is that learners need to learn how to deal with risk and that this will be of benefit. The second is that the presumed benefits outweigh the potential risks; ‘The overt assumption is that participants have the ability to recover from negative situations’ (Wolfe and Samdahl 2005, 33). Dene Berman and Jennifer Davis-Berman (2005) have suggested that challenges to a person’s perceived sense of safety and security through the promotion of risk finds parallels in some of psychology’s early theories and practices. Rather than using uncertainty to facilitate change, Berman and Davis-Berman have suggested that contemporary understandings of change conditions indicate that people are more likely to respond positively when they feel safe, secure and there is a level of predictability in the environment.

Paul Beedie (1994) has also suggested that the relationship between risk taking and learning is more complex than is portrayed in outdoor education literature. Educator Guy Claxton (2002) has indicated that there is value to be gained in being extended ‘by the “risky edge” of our experience’ (p. 21). However, he also cautions that such risk is highly personal, contextual and often unpredictable. As Berman and Davis-Berman (2005) have pointed out, perception of risk and the associated levels of anxiety are subjective and people’s experiences of, and capacity to deal with, perceived risks can vary widely. For some people exposure to risky situations can become debilitating which may be counterproductive in efforts to bring about change (Berman and Davis-Berman 2005). In is worth bearing in mind Lee Davidson’s (2008) reminder that the discourses of risk are both complex and multilayered and therefore not easily reducible to a kind of pedagogic formula.

Mike Brown and Deborah Fraser (2009) have argued that not only is risk too often considered as beneficial for participants, but it is also presented in a way that is highly orchestrated and controlled by the instructor. For example, a ropes course abseiling activity requires careful supervision and adherence to established practices. Brown and Fraser acknowledge that the rhetoric of risk is highly appealing. However they urge caution to avoid mistaking the thrill of taking risks with learning. This point is also raised by Berman and Davis-Berman (2005) who have stated that ‘when participants are placed in situations with little perceived control and high perceived risk, they may change some behaviors in order to cope and better conform, but these changes will probably not be internalized very well’ (p. 20).

A consequence of the use of activities featuring risk is the necessity of stringent safety management strategies (e.g. standardised operating policies) requiring specialist instructing skills and frequent interventions to ensure compliance. The highly regulated nature of such activities (e.g. specialised equipment is mandatory, a unique vocabulary is taught, the body is regulated and policed through a regime of routines and positioning) may function to undermine internal decision-making and individual agency. Regimentation replaces creative participation with others and with place. Brown and Fraser (2009) suggest that

The contrived nature of many risk-oriented activities that are highly orchestrated provide learners with a ‘do’ or ‘not do’ binary … Little in the way of growth and learning opportunities is afforded in such artificial situations that in effect, do not require significant decision-making by the learner, and thus no ownership of consequences … Participation becomes a zero-sum equation whereby the participant is ‘enclosed’ by a network of technologies (safety equipment, procedural requirements and predetermined and mechanistic sequencing) which potentially prevent the development of autonomy or resilience by the removal of natural consequences due to the need to manage risk. (p. 70)

One of the inadvertent outcomes of favouring activities which are deemed risky is that the educator is required to be increasingly proactive and interventionist to ensure safety. The educator directs proceedings and the participants are required to comply. Failure to comply places the participant at risk of being withdrawn from the program for reasons of safety. Brown and Fraser refer to this approach as a ‘transmissive model of pedagogy’ (p. 70). In this situation, the relationship between guide (or educator) and participant is one-way. The expert instructs and the participant follows orders. Johan Hovenlynck (2001) made a similar observation when he stated that ‘adventure education is increasingly adopting the didactic teaching methods that it set out to be an alternative for’ (p. 4).

The commodification of risk in the provision of outdoor education experiences has been critiqued by a number of writers (Beedie 1994, 1995/6; M. Brown and Fraser 2009; Loynes 1998, 2002; Ringer 1999). Chris Loynes has been critical of ‘dominance of the voice of this paradigm’ which ‘gives the impression of only one way or, perhaps a right way to do things’ (Loynes 2002, 113). Brown and Fraser have suggested that a less contrived approach to outdoor education might emphasise the social and cultural context wherein decisions are jointly negotiated and the consequences for all (learners and educators) are considered.

What could emerge is a transformed territory of meaning (Onore and Lubetsky, 1992) in which the elements of place, space and cultural tools combine with interactions between people. This transformed territory stresses the totality of the experience as a shared enterprise; one in which all may be changed. (Brown and Fraser 2009, 71)

An alternative, subtle and more responsive pedagogical approach would be to focus less on activities involving risk, or a thrill, and more upon the opportunities for learners to engage in decisions in which they can exercise autonomy and authentic choices. For example, providing a group with a food budget and a pile of equipment (suitable for an overnight camp) from which they can choose what they wish to take and leave behind introduces a series of realistic decisions and choices. Who is responsible for what, what are we going to eat, who is carrying shared equipment? This places responsibility with the learners. They are required to negotiate, co-operate, and experience leadership/followership and so on. The consequences of actions and choices made are real and obvious – all this without having to manipulate or manufacture risk. The decisions that learners might face after the experience are of a similar nature (e.g. what course should I enrol in? what is the cost of purchasing a new jacket?). Admittedly this may not seem exciting nor much of an adrenaline ‘buzz’ but it places learners at the centre as decision-makers making choices and compromises that impact at both an individual and group level.

Life is not a fast-scripted movie nor is it a 30-second advertisement of extreme action. It is invariably made up of mundane and ordinary decisions. If we truly wish to assist participants in outdoor education programs to cope with the trials and tribulations of everyday life perhaps we should anchor our practices in the real rather than in novelty and escapism. We should be mindful of Brown and Fraser’s (2009) challenge for outdoor educators to ‘shift their focus from “what risk activities can I provide?” to “what educational opportunities can I provide?” This question is far more difficult to examine with any certainty yet it goes to the heart of the matter’ (p. 69).

The use of the comfort zone model to enhance learning

The comfort zone model is inherently linked to notions of adventure and risk. This model, and variants of it, is widespread in outdoor education literature (e.g. Exeter 2001; Luckner and Nadler 1997; Prouty et al. 2007). The comfort zone model is premised on the belief that, when placed in a stressful situation, learners will respond to the challenge, overcome their hesitancy or fear and grow as individuals. Interestingly there is no comfort zone theory per se; rather it is a loose amalgamation of ideas (e.g. Piagetian cognitive development theory, Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance mixed with cultural assumptions about role of adventure and adventurers). Yet it has been accorded foundational status in outdoor education practice. Within this particular model, which is a tangible example of the intersection of the ideology of adventure/risk and pedagogical practice, personal growth or transformation is dependent on the participant being put in a stressful situation (Estrellas 1996). Brown (2008a) has argued that outdoor educators have taken a creative interpretation of Piaget’s and Festinger’s ideas around the notions of dissonance/disequilibrium and applied them in a rather functionalist or stimulus-response manner.

Accommodation-assimilation-equilibrium are conceptual descriptions of a child’s cognitive development processes (note they are descriptive not explanatory). To take this concept and apply it as a teaching strategy is a simplistic reading of a descriptive concept. Using a description of how we learn, modifying it to promote ‘stressful situations’, and applying it as an instructional strategy has given rise to a teaching and learning approach which, I suggest, has placed adventure education on an educational limb; a limb that finds us struggling to gain credibility within the mainstream educational discourse. (M. Brown 2008a, 10)

Outdoor educators’ belief that participants are required to be placed outside their comfort zones in order to experience the world of risks, results in participants continuing to encounter the outdoors through the values and attitudes popularised by the Romantic travellers of the 18th and 19th centuries. However, as Leberman and Martin (2003) have pointed out, activities in which students had been pushed outside their comfort zones were not necessarily the activities that resulted in peak learning experiences. The adoption of the comfort zone model, and the assumptions that underpin it, has less than desirable consequences in terms of student engagement, psychological wellbeing and emotional safety.

There is an increasingly strong case to rethink the way leaders frame learning vis-à-vis the manipulation of perceived risk to move students out of their comfort zone (Berman and Davis-Berman 2005; M. Brown 2008a; Davis-Berman and Berman 2002; Estrellas 1996; Leberman and Martin 2003; Zink and Leberman 2003). Research suggests that effective learning depends on solid foundations and strong relationships of trust and support between educator and learner and between learners (Vella 2002). Russell Bishop and Ted Glynn (1999) have proposed that the concepts of reciprocal learning and autonomy/self-determination create new metaphors for teaching and learning that reframe the relationship between educators and learners. Learning can be viewed as a gradual and cumulative process rather than a sudden, and quantum, shift in understanding forced by an existential crisis. As Sarah Leberman and Andrew Martin (2003) have shown, learning can and will occur in outdoor activities that do not create a strong perception of risk.

The rise of individualism/personal development

A focus on the individual as a site of transformation in outdoor education reflects society’s wider preoccupation with the self-authoring, autonomous individual. Hugh Mehan (1996) has suggested that one of the hallmarks of American society, and this may be broadened to include most other Western capitalist societies, is the core value of individualism. In this view the causes of human behaviour are primarily explained in terms of states and traits. These individual states and traits are considered to reside ‘in the heads and between the ears of people’ (Mehan 1996, 265). Individualism attributes a person’s success or lack of success to their personal effort and hard work, rather than broader social or structural factors. According to Pip Lynch and Kevin Moore, the focus on the individual in outdoor education is a consequence of the progressive liberal education movement in the late 19th century.

According to this strand of progressivism, the education system is the agent of the child, to be adapted to meet individual needs rather than requiring the child to adapt to the system (Blake 1973; Brezinka 1994; Hemmings 1972). The Romantic ideal that was incorporated with educational progressivism imbued outdoor environments with educational value. (Lynch and Moore 2004, 5)

The role of outdoor education in personal development has been a taken-for-granted assumption in much outdoor education research. Investigation of personal traits and states has been the basis of many psychological studies into the benefits of participation in outdoor programs (see Hattie et al. 1997 for an overview). For example, Alan Ewert and Dan Garvey (2007) have suggested that ‘one of the most visible and advertised outcomes of adventure education programs is personal growth’ (p. 29). However, this focus on the individual, as a site of improvement has not been without its critics (although they are few and far between). Richard Kraft (1981) argued that John Dewey ‘ … would bridle at the extreme individualism of today’s experiential educators, who appear to emphasise the individual, the mystical experience of the mountaintop and the narcissistic pleasures of the wilderness, rather than the arduous task of building a just and democratic order’ (p. 6). Andrew Brookes (2000) has claimed that an excessive focus on the individual in outdoor education, as the site of meaning-making and change, inhibits outdoor educators’ capacity to deal with the social and cultural dimensions of experience:

In outdoor education discourse individualism exacerbates realist tendencies to treat cultural and social dimensions of experience only as external distortions to experience … (Brookes 2000, 2).

Interestingly the educator and advocate of an ecological consciousness, Chet Bowers, linked the rise of individualism to various versions of constructivist learning theory. He has argued that constructivist agendas have functioned as a powerful form of colonisation, in that the acceptance of individual meaning-making as a universalised approach to learning has become the accepted pedagogical strategy which should be adopted, or imposed, through educational reform. He has argued that the advocacy and primacy of individual meaning-making works to undermine intergenerational traditions and community life that have formed the basis of different cultures and which have provided ecologically sustainable practices. Furthermore he has suggested that constructivist pedagogies, based on the assumption that students learn more effectively when they construct their own knowledge, potentially restrict students’ knowledge to what they can learn from their own direct experience.

What goes unrecognized in this approach is that the cultural resources of the community, which are largely excluded by this individual or peer-group-centered approach to learning, are essential to developing the talents and skills necessary to being a contributing member of the community … (Bowers 2005, 10).

According to Bowers, modern society needs a more complex set of understandings than are currently made available in universalised constructivist approaches to learning. The embrace of the experiential learning cycle, as a manifestation of constructivism, highlights the rise of individualism in outdoor education. It is to an overview of experiential learning, and the separation of the individual from their experience and situation, that we now turn our attention.

Experiential learning cycles

The third way that outdoor education potentially serves as a denial of place is found in the application of various cyclic models of experiential learning. John Dewey (1859–1952) is often cited as one of the principal founders of the experiential education movement. Dewey felt that education should provide an emancipatory, democratic encounter with learning rather than a passive and disengaged experience controlled by others (e.g. adults and teachers). Hunt summarised Dewey’s belief that ‘primary experience’ concerned ‘the immediate, tangible, and moving world which presents itself to the senses … the raw materials from which knowledge can begin’ (Hunt 1995, 26). Dewey’s philosophy of experience and education warns us about the potential dangers of separating the knower from the known and highlights the sensing body in its environment as the genesis of all learning. However, the real educational significance of experience for Dewey came through ‘secondary experience’. This reflective experience would take the ‘gross, macroscopic, and crude materials furnished by primary experience and seek to make them precise, microscopic and refined’ (Hunt 1995, 27).

Outdoor education has grasped the principles of Dewey’s educational philosophy in the provision of activities coupled with some form of reflection in which learners, often with the assistance of an instructor, teacher or facilitator, endeavour to make sense of their experiences. It is argued that, through reflection, the learner constructs their understanding of the meaning of their experiences. Laura Joplin (1995) has pointed out that although all learning is experiential (i.e. in so far as it is based on experience), not all learning is intentionally planned. She goes on to suggest that experiential education, as opposed to experiential learning, is the intentional planning of learning that requires two components, the provision of an experience for the learner and the facilitation of that experience through reflection. It is the process of reflection that is considered to turn mere experience into experiential education (Joplin 1995; Walsh and Golins 1976). From this perspective the individual learner is considered to be the agent of self-development (Vince 1998).

Tara Fenwick (2001, 7) has suggested that most experiential educators, regardless of their disciplinary affiliation, ‘presume the same basic conceptualization of experiential learning: an independent learner, cognitively reflecting on concrete experience to construct new understandings, perhaps with the assistance of an educator, toward some social goal of progress or improvement’. The models popularised in outdoor education literature tend to be drawn from David Kolb’s (1984) model of experiential learning, or variants of it. Vince (1998) has suggested that Kolb’s cycle is the pre-eminent model ‘to express the nature of experiential learning’ (p. 304). The four components of Kolb’s (1984) model; concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation, and active experimentation; appear in various forms in a large number of outdoor education texts, either cited directly (Exeter 2001; Martin et al. 2006; Panicucci 2007; Priest and Gass 1997) or modified and simplified; for example the three stage, plan-do-review model (Exeter 2001) or Laura Joplin’s spiral version (1995). The emphasis in Kolb’s model, and its variants, is on individual experience and meaning-making, which arguably places it ‘within the cognitive psychological tradition: a tradition that overlooks or mechanically explains the social, historical and cultural aspects of self, thinking and action’ (Holman et al. 1997, 135). Holman et al. (1997) argue that experiential learning theory replicates the assumptions, principles and methods inherent in cognitivist accounts of learning; it is assumed that the learner is separate from their social, historical and cultural context and that thinking can be studied as a sequential process of problem solving.

Several writers have taken issue with the metaphors that are used in regards to learning and experience. Take, for example, the following quote on the role of reflecting on experience.

Processing enhances the richness of the experience … These unique learnings then can be used again and generalized to other settings. When a new experience is processed, integrated, and internalized, individuals are able to grow, and as a result, they have more choices and influence in their lives. (Luckner and Nadler 1997, 10)

The metaphors used symbolise a technical-mechanistic notion of learning, where experience is an object to be internalised, processed and refined to reveal its true meaning. The processing metaphor assumes that learning happens through cognitive reflection, that experience is a discrete object, and that a learner can be separated from his or her concrete experience to process it and generate knowledge (Fenwick 2001). Chris Loynes (2002) has suggested that the use of production line metaphors (loading, sequencing and processing) is indicative of a rationalist, mechanistic, and deterministic worldview in which learners may be ‘oppressed rather than empowered by their managed experience’ (p. 116). He has also argued that the commodification of experiences, an adrenaline buzz coupled with processing/reviewing intended to elicit rational learning outcomes, is counter to what should be ‘the organic and emergent nature of experiential learning as it takes account of environments, individuals, groups, cultures and activities and the experiences that arise from their interaction’ (p. 113). Loynes’ concerns are evident in outdoor educators’ efforts to institutionalise learning to give it credibility. For example, Joplin (1995) has stated that

It is the publicly verifiable articulation which makes experience and experiential learning capable of inclusion and acceptance by the educational institutions. The public nature of debrief also ensures that the learner’s conclusions are verified and mirrored against a greater body of perception than his alone. (p. 19)

According to Joplin it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that the actions previously taken are not left to ‘drift along unquestioned, unrealised, unintegrated, or unorganised’ (p. 19). However, the role that the teacher or educator plays in the verification or mirroring process is potentially problematic. The role of the person responsible for facilitating the reflection process has been examined by several researchers who have raised important questions in relation to the exercise of power and the admissibility of ‘appropriate’ knowledge in these settings (M. Brown 2002, 2003; Stan 2009).

Joplin’s (1995) distinction between experiential learning, where the ‘debrief may occur within [our emphasis] the individual’ (p. 19), and experiential education, where learning must be articulated and made public is a crucial point. What counts as experience in Joplin’s model are individual cognitive processes coupled with the public acknowledgment (and approval) of experience, rather than the experience within. Yet language is not a neutral conduit through which experiences can be fully and transparently articulated. Language can never fully encompass the felt or embodied qualities of experience. A privileging of language and mental processing risks severing the body from its experiences. Thus experiential education potentially limits the possibilities of place-responsive approaches to facilitation and experience. If participants’ vocabularies are poor how can their experiences be articulated? Are experiences that cannot be articulated de-legitimised? What is the role and status of silence in the reflective process? A greater awareness of the links between experience, reflection and the representation of those interpretations of experience (possibly in myriad styles and forms) is a vital issue for all experiential educators, particularly those interested in the possibilities of developing a sense of place.

Brown (2009) has suggested that embedded within experiential learning are two problematic binaries that work to silence connections between the individual and place(s) and ongoing engagement in ‘communities of practice’ (Lave and Wenger 1991). He claims that as currently practised, outdoor experiential education promotes two distinct binaries: 1) abstraction of meaning from the experience; and 2) the learner from the situation in which the experience(s) occurred. It is worth briefly outlining aspects of Brown’s argument in regard to the first point: experiential learning cycles’ tendency to reinforce the traditional Cartesian mind–body split (reflection separated from concrete experience). Kemmis (1985) has suggested that because reflection is something deemed to occur inside the head we tend to think of it as an internal psychological process. However, he has warned that to view reflection in this light ignores the situational and embodied experiences that give reflection its very character and significance. Tara Fenwick (2003) has argued that too often

The body has been somehow banished from learning, along with the body’s enmeshments in its social, material and cultural nets of action. Then, appropriated by both school and workplace, the learning that is harvested from bodies in action has been forced into normalizing categories, commodified, and credentialed … (p. 10).

The proposition that an individual can somehow distance him/herself from experiences and reflect or process them oversimplifies the embodied, situated and discursive constituents of experience. As Kemmis (1985, 141) remarked, ‘We do not pause to reflect in a vacuum’. All experiences are mediated through our bodies and our cultural lenses; there is no such thing as a pure, immediate or transparent experience (Fox 2008). Holman et al. (1997, 142) have noted that, a person ‘cannot stand outside themselves and their history in order to obtain an account of pure experience or pure self’.

Interpretations of experiences are always bound by context, individual histories (M. Bell 1993), and the interconnected webs of culture, history and power which are embodied in who we are (Fox 2008). Jayson Seaman (2007) argues that the recognition that learning is mediated through cultural understandings challenges ‘assumptions about the radical autonomy of learners, about “direct experience”, and about the centrality of independent, cognitive reflection in experiential learning’ (p. 3). The philosopher of place Edward Casey (1993) reminds us that it is only through the body that we experience place(s) at all. It is through our body that we are taken into place(s); ‘It is at once agent and vehicle, articulator and witness of being-in-place’ (p. 48). We suggest that cyclic pedagogies discussed above do not merely render the body as invisible but they actively deny embodied ways of knowing thereby presenting a hindrance to both the role of the learner’s body in experience and to the ability to be responsive to place. The propensity within experiential approaches to regard the social and cultural dimensions of experiences as external distortions (Brookes 2000) reinforces the notion that true meaning is found through individual reflection which removes these seemingly extraneous details.

The second, and more pertinent, binary is the tendency in cyclic models to separate the participants’ learning from the context in which a skill, behaviour or attribute was practiced or observed. This decontextualisation (de-placing) is evident in the importance given to facilitating generalisable concepts or principles that can supposedly be transferred across different contexts (e.g. from an expedition experience to home, work or school). The belief in decontextualised knowing and acting is based on the assumption that an autonomous learner is largely independent of social and spatial relationships (Holman et al. 1997). Thus experiential educators may assume that the specifics of a situation are deemed to be of little or no relevance and can be stripped away to reveal a context-free, universal principle. This assumption appears to allow the broadest possible application of a universal principle, but it denies and silences the uniqueness and particularity of local places and communities.

Fenwick (2001) suggests that in Kolb’s model little consideration is given to context as part of the learning process. Where context is discussed in experiential learning (e.g. Boud et al. 1985) it tends to be viewed as a space separate from the learner; context is something that influences the learner but is inherently distinct from the learner who maintains a detached autonomy. However, as Jarvis (1987, 11) reminds us, ‘learning is not just a psychological process that happens in splendid isolation from the world in which the learner lives, but is ultimately related to the world and affected by it’. Viewing the learner as autonomous casts them adrift from their social, historical, cultural and material existence. Research into learning provides evidence that this separation of what is learned from how it is learned and used is no longer tenable (Hutchins 1993; Lave 1988).

The activity in which knowledge is developed and deployed, it is now argued, is not separable from or ancillary to learning and cognition. Nor is it neutral. Rather, it is an integral part of what is learned. Situations might be said to co-produce knowledge through activity. Learning and cognition, it is now possible to argue, are fundamentally situated. (J. Brown et al. 1989, 32)

Clearly learning cannot be separated from, and treated independently from the social, political, historical and cultural contexts in which it occurs. By way of example, Seaman (2007) has shown how learners’ experiences in a ropes course session are mediated through cultural and institutional tools. He demonstrated that experience(s) and meaning-making are not individual events but rather collaborative processes. What is learned is situated in a specific place, directed to a purpose or goal, with a particular group of people who bring differing knowledge and attributes. Learning is contextualised according to the demands of the task and the resources available in the situation in which people find themselves. What is emphasised, what is discussed or omitted, the tools that are utilised (physical, cognitive, linguistic etc) and the knowledge that is valued, are functions of the culture and social power relationships which are deeply saturated with meaning (Vince 1998). The uncritical and perhaps unwitting promotion of individualism in experiential pedagogy also impoverishes our understanding of the ‘mutuality and reciprocity in learning’ (Seaman 2008, 12) and denies both social connectedness and connections with place.

Conclusion

In this chapter we have tried to draw together some disparate themes in the theory of outdoor adventure education that collectively silence or work against a place-responsive approach. As key concepts in outdoor education they underpin the assumptions of the naturalness or taken-for-granted status of adventure, the majesty of the wild, and the apparent obviousness of following action with reflection. The purpose here has been to draw attention to the cultural, historical, social and geographical factors that have contributed to some of our present day understandings of, and assumptions within, outdoor education practice. It is by no means an exhaustive treatise on this matter. But it will hopefully have served its intended purpose of highlighting for the reader the manner in which a focus on the individual as an adventurer in the wild, facing risks and prevailing in a world of uncertainty in the quest for self-realisation, finds its genesis in particular combinations of ideas arising from a curiously diverse array of histories and professional belief systems.

Our aim has been to draw attention to the omission (or outright denial) of the importance of context in learning in the outdoors. Context, from the perspective we are arguing in this book, can be interpreted as an unfolding phenomenon between person, place and culture. Hopkins and Putnam (1993) typify the neglected aspect of place in outdoor education when they state that the outdoors ‘is simply a statement about location: it describes where something happens’ (p. 5). An over-extended focus on the individual through challenge and adventure comes at the expense of other possible learning agendas and ways of knowing. If we are not careful Payne and Wattchow’s (2008) assertion that it is becoming ‘increasingly difficult to confidently make the claim that outdoor education is an “alternative” beyond the fact that some of it occurs in the outdoors’ (p. 26) may well be our downfall in an educational system increasingly under pressure from competing curricula demands and tighter budgetary constraints.

Cite this chapter as: Wattchow, Brian and Brown, Mike. 2011. ‘Outdoor Education: Myths, Dubious Claims and the Denial of Place’, in A Pedagogy of Place: Outdoor Education for a Changing World, Wattchow, Brian and Brown, Mike. Melbourne: Monash University Publishing. pp. 26–50.

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All rights reserved. Apart from any uses permitted by Australia’s Copyright Act 1968, no part of this book may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the copyright owners. Inquiries should be directed to the publisher, Monash University Publishing. http://www.publishing.monash.edu/contact.html

A Pedagogy of Place

   by Brian Wattchow and Mike Brown