How do outdoor educators understand their relationship with nature?

Scott, Liam (2013) How do outdoor educators understand their relationship with nature? Masters dissertation, University of Cumbria. Item availability may be restricted.

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Abstract

This research examines outdoor educators’ understanding of their relationship with nature. Existing research in the field of outdoor education lacks a focus upon outdoor educators’ existing beliefs, values and attitudes towards the natural world and this research attempts to begin to address this. Given that contributors to outdoor education literature are urging practitioners to encourage students to question and develop a relationship with nature that promotes environmentally sound behaviour, and address wider issues related to sustainable development, then this is clearly an important area. The research adopts a phenomenological approach to its design and implementation. In keeping with this approach, the outcomes are based on a description of the main themes that emerged from primary data gained from in depth semi structured interviews. The outdoor educators who took part in this research describe their experience of nature. Nature is understood as that which provides memorable experiences that have contributed to the development of their character, identity and ultimately is how they value those nature experiences. The outdoor educators taking part in the research also value their nature experiences as something that they are proud to share and that provides opportunities to educate values among their students. The themes which emerged as central to outdoor educators’ relationships with nature also included nature as providing ‘back to basics’, immersive experiences that are novel and that contain uncertain outcomes. However, what has become apparent during the research process is that all participants describe their understanding of their relationship with very little vocabulary associated with dominant theoretical human to nature relationship schools of thought that are prevalent in the literature. The implications of this are discussed. By exploring the lived experience of outdoor educators and offering a discussion of how they understand their relationship with nature, this research will contribute towards the body of existing literature in the field of outdoor education. If utilised by readers the findings may also contribute to the development, design and delivery of existing practical and academic outdoor leadership training courses. With the assistance of future research efforts that build upon this research, outdoor education professionals can further identify appropriate leadership styles, practices, and training guidelines that include more of a focus on the subject of human to nature relationships that ultimately will positively contribute to healthy and sustainable relationships between humans and natural environments.

Item Type: Thesis/Dissertation (Masters)
Departments: Outdoor Studies
Additional Information: Dissertation presented in part fulfilment of the requirements of the Degree of Master of Arts in Outdoor and Experiential Learning, University of Cumbria, 2013.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2018 11:14
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2018 00:10
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/3904

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