Through Outdoor Education: A Sense of Place on Scotland’s River Spey

  • Brian Wattchow
  • Peter Higgins


Outdoor education is often thought of as a series of adventurous activities or journeys through wild countryside, where the purpose is to build character, work on group development or to develop leadership capacity in young people. However, in recent years these dominant approaches have been challenged and it has been suggested that they tend to treat the outdoor environment as little more than a venue for human action – as an arena or a testing ground. There has been a notable shift towards considering the development of sustainable environmental relationships as a program focus and learning outcome in outdoor education. But there are few descriptions of what this actually means in practice. In this chapter we build on the theoretical discussions established in Chaps. 2 and 3 and describe an outdoor education program that is much more attuned to socio-ecological principles and where developing a sense of place is considered a pedagogical imperative. The story that follows details an educational encounter between staff, students, tourists, locals and the River Spey in Scotland.


Sense of place Pedagogy of place Outdoor education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityFrankstonAustralia
  2. 2.School of EducationEdinburgh UniversityEdinburghUK

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