Academic journal article Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education

Editorial

Academic journal article Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education

Editorial

Article excerpt

Once again this issue of the Australian Journal of Outdoor Education brings explorations of Outdoor Education from a number of different perspectives. Each article brings a particular aspect of Outdoor Education into focus. Far from creating a series of random dots, bringing these articles into conversation with each other enriches many of the ideas and arguments in each article.

John Allan, Jim McKenna and Karen Hind review recent research on brain resilience and how this is one way to explore the "black box" that persists to exist in understanding the beneficial processes of adventure learning. This research is showing that the brain is far more plastic and malleable than previously thought, and experiences such as those offered through adventure learning can contribute to the adaptive functioning of the brain. As the authors point out, adventure learning can only benefit by having a greater understanding of how these experiences interact with brain functioning.

Allen Hill presents a change-model for sustainable Outdoor Education. This work draws on an action research project with secondary school teachers wanting to introduce a greater focus on sustainability into their Outdoor Education programs. He found that incorporating a sustainability focus requires much more than just learning new content. These teachers identified changes in their philosophies, values and understandings, as well as changes in their teaching strategies, and resource use. Changes in practice were not always easy to effect, but working together over an extended period supported these teachers to bring a greater sustainability focus to their programs.

Lou Preston uses the concept of Communities of Practice to explore some of the tensions and contradictions that pre-service teachers navigate between their communities of outdoor environmental education, physical education, and being young people in the world today. Like Hill, Preston highlights that teaching requires individuals to engage with questions of identity and philosophy and her work shows that this process is contingent on all of the communities of practice with which a person is involved. Understanding this process of negotiation with communities of practice may be one way teachers can begin to make some sense of the tensions and contradictions they encounter in their teaching lives. …

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