Outdoor learning and psychological resilience: making today’s students better prepared for tomorrow’s world
One of the hallmarks of education is to build students’ emotional, psychological and physical resilience (Booth 2015; Haggerty et al. 1996). However, all available indicators suggest what we are doing does not appear to be universally effective (Black Dog Institute 2016; Haidt and Paresky 2019). Rates of mental illness, anxiety, depression, and a myriad of other health issues such as ADHD, obesity and diabetes are rising (Gray 2018a, b; Henley 2010). These modern maladies are in part, linked with our inactive and nature-estranged lifestyles (Kellert and Wilson 1993; Maller and Townsend 2006; Selhub and Logan 2012). Correspondingly, Louv (2011) states that children are suffering from what is commonly referred to as Vitamin N (N for Nature) deficiency. Recent provocations by Braus and Milligan-Toffler (2018) and Truong and colleagues (Truong et al. 2018) carry this viewpoint to further magnitude.
A ‘challenge by choice’ philosophy provides one (of many) underlying...
KeywordsOutdoor education Outdoor learning Resilience Challenge Nature Coping skills
- American Psychological Association (2010). The road to resilience. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx.
- Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) (2017). Curriculum Connections: Outdoor Learning. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/resources/curriculum-connections/portfolios/outdoor-learning/?searchTerm=outdoor+learning#dimension-content.
- Black Dog Institute (2016). Mission Australia Youth Mental Health Report 2012–2016. https://blackdoginstitute.org.au/docs/default-source/research/evidence-and-policy-section/2017-youth-mental-health-report_mission-australia-and-black-dog-institute.pdf?sfvrsn=6.
- Booth, J. (2015). Coping strategies and the development of psychological resilience in outdoor education. Honours Thesis, University of Canberra. http://www.canberra.edu.au/researchrepository/items/4cc8017a-3eef-46d6-8a8b-b410271dc7e2/1/
- Boyle, I. (2003). The impact of adventure-based training on team cohesion and psychological skills development in elite sporting teams. (Doctoral Dissertation). Wollongong, Australia: University of Wollongong. Retrieved from http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/984/
- Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Csikszentmihalyi, I. S. (1990). Adventure and the flow experience. In J. C. Miles & S. Priest (Eds.) Adventure education (pp. 149–155). State College: Venture.Google Scholar
- Dickson, T., Gray, T. & Mann, K (2008). Australian Outdoor Adventure Activity Benefits Catalogue https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:MlcPtL33910J:https://outdoorsvictoria.org.au/resources/australian-outdoor-adventure-activity-benefits-catalogue/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au&client=safari.
- Dowdell, K., Gray, T., & Malone, K. (2011). Nature and its influence on Children’s outdoor play. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education., 15(2), 24–35 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF03400925.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ewing, R. (2018). Exploding some of the myths about learning to read: A review of research on the role of phonics. ISBN 978-0-6482555-6-7 Retrieved from https://www.alea.edu.au/documents/item/1869.
- Gray, T. (1997). The impact of an extended stay outdoor education school program upon adolescent participants. (Doctoral Dissertation). Wollongong, Australia: University of Wollongong. Retrieved from http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/1799.
- Gray, T. (2017). A 30-year retrospective study of the impact of outdoor education upon adolescent participants: Salient lessons from the field. Pathways the Ontario Outdoor Education Journal, Spring, 29(3), 4–15.Google Scholar
- Gray, T (2018a). Being in nature is good for learning, here's how to get kids off screens and outside. The Conversation. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/being-in-nature-is-good-for-learning-heres-how-to-get-kids-off-screens-and-outside-104935.
- Gray, T. (2018b). Outdoor learning: Not new, just newly important. Curriculum perspectives. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41297-018-0054-x.
- Gray, T., & Perusco, D. (1993). Footprints in the sand—Reflecting upon the value of outdoor education in the school curriculum. Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation National Journal, 40(1), 17–21.Google Scholar
- Gray, T. Tracey, D., Truong, S., & Ward, K. (2017). Fostering the wellbeing of students with challenging behaviour and/or emotional needs through Acceptance Commitment Therapy and outdoor learning: Research report. Sydney, New South Wales: Centre for Educational Research, School of Education, Western Sydney University. https://doi.org/10.4225/35/5a961c414081
- Gray, T., Truong, S., Reid, C., Ward, K., Singh, M. & Jacobs, M. (2018). Vertical Schools and Green Space: Canvassing the Literature. Western Sydney University. https://doi.org/10.26183/5bd93af6a3ca5.
- Haggerty, R. J., Sherrod, L. R., Garmezy, N., & Rutter, M. (1996). Stress, risk, and resilience in children and adolescents: Processes, mechanisms, and interventions. Cambridge. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Haidt, J. & Paresky, P. (2019). By mollycoddling our children, we're fuelling mental illness in teenagers. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/10/by-mollycoddling-our-children-were-fuelling-mental-illness-in-teenagers?CMP=fb_gu&fbclid=IwAR1PhsqsxrXiYIXcFnT9BOtXtK37AKOJE0-V7XO-zCQojCsSFSyAev6Tp04 (Accessed January 28, 2019).
- Henley, J. (2010). Why our children need to get outside and engage with nature. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/aug/16/childre-nature-outside-play-health Accessed 23 July, 2018.
- Kaplan, R., & Kaplan, S. (1989). The experience of nature: A psychological perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Kellert, S. R. (1998). A national study of outdoor wilderness experience, Unpublished report, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.Google Scholar
- Kellert, S. R. (2005). Building for life: Designing and understanding the human- nature connection. Washington: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Kellert, S. R., & Wilson, E. O. (1993). The biophilia hypothesis. Washington: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Louv, R. (2011). The Nature Principle: Human restoration and the end of Nature-Deficit Disorder. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.Google Scholar
- Maller, C. J., & Townsend, M. (2006). Children’s mental health and wellbeing and hands- on contact with nature: Perceptions of principals and teachers. International Journal of Learning, 12(4), 359–372.Google Scholar
- Neill, J. T. (2008). Enhancing life effectiveness: The impacts of outdoor education programs. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation), Faculty of Education, University of Western Sydney, NSW, Australia. Retrieved from http://wilderdom.com/wiki/Neill_2008_Enhancing_life_effectiveness:_The_impacts_of_outdoor_education_programs.
- Neill, J. T., & Heubeck, B. (1998). Adolescent coping styles and outdoor education: Searching for the mechanisms of change. In. Exploring the boundaries of adventure therapy: International perspectives. Proceedings of the International Adventure Therapy Conference (1st, Perth, Australia, July 1997). Retrieved from: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED424067.pdf.
- Neilson, T. & Hansen, K. (2007). Do green areas affect health? Results from a Danish survey on the use of green areas and health indicators. Health and Place, 13(4) 839-850. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2007.02.001.
- Nettles, S. M., & Pleck, J. H. (1996). Risk, resilience, and development: The multiple ecologies of black adolescents in the United States. In R. J. Haggerty, L. R. Sherrod, N. Garmezy, & M. Rutter (Eds.), Stress, risk, and resilience in children and adolescents: Processes, mechanisms, and interventions. (pp. 147–181). Cambridge. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Rutter, M. (1987). Psychosocial resilience and protective mechanisms. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 57, 316. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1939-0025.1987.tb03541.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rutter, M. (1996). Stress research: Accomplishments and tasks ahead. In R. J. Haggerty, L. R. Sherrod, N. Garmezy, & M. Rutter (Eds.), Stress, risk, and resilience in children and adolescents: Processes, mechanisms, and interventions (pp. 354–385). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Rutter, M. (2006). Implications of resilience concepts for scientific understanding. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1094, 1–12. doi: https://doi.org/10.1196/annals.1376.002
- Ryan, D., & Gray, T. (1993). Integrating outdoor education into the school curriculum - a case study. International Council for Health, Physical Education. Recreation, 29(2), 6–13.Google Scholar
- Scott, M. (2017). Preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s world. Speech delivered at the Trans Tasman Business Circle, 29 June, 2017. Retrieved From: https://education.nsw.gov.au/our-priorities/innovate-for-the-future/education-for-a-changing-world/thoughts-on-the-future/preparing-todays-students-for-tomorrows-world#The3 . Accessed January 28, 2019.
- Selhub, E., & Logan, A. (2012). Your Brain on Nature: The Science of Nature's Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality. Somerset, UK: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Shellman, A. (2009). Empowerment and resilience: A multi-method approach to understanding processes and outcomes of adventure education program experiences. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Indiana University, Indiana, MI, USA. Retrieved from http://gradworks.umi.com/33/54/3354905.html.
- Sibthorp, J., Paisley, K., Furman, N., & Gookin, J. (2008). Long-term impacts attributed to participation in wilderness education: Preliminary findings from NOLS. In Ninth Biennial Research Symposium (p. 115).Google Scholar
- Skehill, C. M. (2001). Resilience, coping with an extended stay outdoor education program, and adolescent mental health. (Unpublished thesis). University Canberra, Canberra, Australia. Retrieved from http://www.wilderdom.com/pdf/Skehill2001ResilienceCopingOutdoorEducation.pdf
- Taniguchi, S., & Freeman, P. A. (2004). Outdoor education and meaningful learning: Finding the attributes to meaningful learning experiences in an outdoor education program. The Journal of Experimental Education, 26, 210–211 Retrieved from http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/etd/164/.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Townsend, M., & Weerasuriya, R. (2010). Beyond blue to Green: The benefits of contact with nature. Deakin University.Google Scholar
- Truong, S., Singh, M., Reid, C., Gray, T., & Ward, K. (2018). Vertical schooling and learning transformations in curriculum research: Points and counterpoints in outdoor education and sustainability. Curriculum Perspectives. https://rdcu.be/5RhP.
- Wilson, E. O. (1984). Biophilia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Wilson, E. O. (2015). E.O. Wilson Explains Why Parks and Nature are Really Good for Your Brain. The Washington Post. Retrieved From: Http://Www.Childrenandnature.Org/2015 /10/01/E-O-Wilson- Explains-Why-Parks-And-Nature-Are-Really-Good-For-Your-Brain/.