The role and place of outdoor education in the Australian National Curriculum

Abstract

As Australia heads into a new era of implementing a National Curriculum, the place of Outdoor Education in Australian schools is under question. In the initial drafts of the National Curriculum, Outdoor Education has been marginalised. The authors propose that Outdoor Education should maintain a strong role, especially as processes of experiential learning are applied across the curriculum. Moreover, Outdoor Education offers distinctive content and learning experiences that would be lost in the current draft framework. This paper considers the role and place of Outdoor Education in the National Curriculum and frames possible considerations, challenges and risks.

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Correspondence to Tonia Gray.

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Tonia Gray is an Associate Professor and Specialist in Pedagogy and Learning at UWS in Social Ecology. Her research interests include eco-pedagogy, human-nature relationships, and reflection and experiential learning in a variety of educational settings. In 2009 Tonia received an ALTC Citation for engaging students in life-altering learning, providing a role model for scholarly activity in outdoor education and building an internationally recognized program. Her involvement in NSW Curriculum and more recently with ACARA in the initial Draft of the HPE Shape Paper, affords Tonia a depth and breadth of contemporary expertise in the National Curriculum renewal process. Peter Martin PhD is an Associate Professor at the University of Ballarat. He has worked in outdoor education curriculum development in both secondary and tertiary education since the late 1970s. He harbours a desire for every Australian child to develop a direct, personal, ongoing relationship with the natural world as part of their schooling. And, for research efforts to continue to map the benefits of outdoor education.

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Gray, T., Martin, P. The role and place of outdoor education in the Australian National Curriculum. Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education 16, 39–50 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03400937

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Keywords

  • Outdoor Education
  • National Curriculum
  • health
  • physical education
  • nature and well-being