A Phenomenological Study of Outdoor Experiential Education (OEE) practitioners' and OEE organisations’ ethos in Northern England

HUI, SUET YING (2021) A Phenomenological Study of Outdoor Experiential Education (OEE) practitioners' and OEE organisations’ ethos in Northern England. Masters dissertation, University of Cumbria. Item availability may be restricted.

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Abstract

To explore the ethos of outdoor experiential education (OEE) practitioners and organisations in Northern England, and to explore the consistency between the two, this research uses an online questionnaire to gather OEE practitioners’ ethos and behaviour. A web analysis of 11 OEE organisations in Northern England is also conducted.
Childhood unstructured exploration of nature and adventure; and the summer camp style experiences organised by OEE organisations play important roles in shaping respondents' education beliefs. One of the persisting themes noticed in their education ethos is to promote ownership and autonomy. Despite having a planned programme, a lot of the practitioners will assess individuals and adjust their
programme plan to allow a greater degree of autonomy.
OEE organisations highlight the importance of community and collaboration with their 'clients', including developing youth to become the ideal future employee. A few of them emphasise how accommodating they can be, to the extent that they promise
the fulfilment of the clients' desired outcomes such as meeting the needs of the curriculum. Some of the organisations use the natural environment as one of the teaching tools, following the narrative of "using adventure in a challenging/ sublime wilderness to achieve certain learning objectives". Only two organisations mention inducing care and concern for the environment as one of their educational focuses. There is also a recurring theme of promoting long-term change and allowing space for young people to discover potential and to thrive in the future.
When comparing the ethos of practitioners and organisations, there are a few consistencies and inconsistencies noticed. The first one is who is the beneficiary and whose needs should be accommodated. As practitioners gain more experience in the OEE field, they tend to become more individual-focused and have greater confidence to exercise according to their personal education beliefs, yet OEE organisations stress on pre-programme communication with the clients, which are likely to be schools and corporations, and pre-design the experience according to their needs. Such dissonance implies that there may be a difference between what the organisations promise to the clients and what is actually happening in the OEE programme, which may lead to learning outcomes that are not ‘planned’. The implication of this is still to be further studied. There are mixed opinions about the organisations’ ethos among the respondents, some completely agree with the ethos and claim that it is the main reason they choose to work for that organisation, while some say that the organisation ethos does not influence at all on how they practice.

Item Type: Thesis/Dissertation (Masters)
Departments: Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies > Outdoor Studies
Depositing User: Heather Prince
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2022 09:13
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2022 09:15
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/6417
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