Extended Stay Outdoor Education School Program: An Action Research Study

2019-02-06T04:02:21Z (GMT) by Dale G. Hobbs
Extended Stay Outdoor Education School Program (ESOESP) is a relatively new term within outdoor education literature in Australia that describes an off-campus residential program conducted in a remote outdoor setting extending from five weeks (half a term) to 40 weeks (full academic year). Typically, these programs offer an integrated curriculum during the 'middle years' of secondary education and claim to develop personal and social skills beyond what is possible in the traditional mainstream school environment.
This study employed an organisational action research approach in order to develop a conceptual model for an ESOESP and guide its application to an independent boys' school (the target school) middle years curriculum. The study drew upon the background, interests and values of key school stakeholders to further inform the establishment of, and to eventually reach agreement, on the conceptual model. Three key stakeholder groups comprising a Senior School Management Team; Pastoral Care Team and a Curriculum Leadership Team participated in focus group discussions. The major theme to emerge highlights a reluctance by key stakeholders to integrate existing curriculum into an ESOESP. Data infonned the development of an emerging conceptual model in which experiential learning and the environment should be used to contextualise the curriculum with a focus on human values and the process of human development.