Academic journal article Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education

Editorial

Academic journal article Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education

Editorial

Article excerpt

Welcome to the second issue of the Australian Journal of Outdoor Education for 2011. All of the articles in this issue are concerned with different aspects of learning in outdoor environments. The broad range of questions being asked that has led to the work presented here, and the various perspectives taken, is indicative of the complexity and richness of teaching and learning in the outdoors. It is a pleasure to publish work from around the globe. The differing viewpoints the authors bring to bear on outdoor education can enrich our thinking about outdoor education practice and theory in this part of the world.

In Balancing more than backpacks: Communitarian ideas applied to educational expeditions, Jerry Isaak proposes the communitarian framework as a useful tool for instructors and teachers to help negotiate the inevitable tensions between individual needs and group needs that occur on extended trips. While the communitarian framework does not provide solutions to those messy dynamics that occur on journeys, it can, as the author suggests, be a way to facilitate discussions about rights and responsibilities in group contexts.

Jon Ord and Mark Leather make a case for a return to the original theorising of John Dewey if we wish to develop more comprehensive understandings of "experience learning". They argue that while models such as learning cycles can be useful for making sense of complex processes, they can also lead to more simplistic understandings of experience. In this article the authors work through the commonalities between Kolb's original model of experiential learning and Dewey's theories of experience. Through this they emphasize some of the key points of Dewey's philosophy of experience and illustrate the complexity of learning from experience, and how Dewey's work can contribute to a fuller understanding of experience learning.

The third refereed article literally gets down into the playground. Kellie Dowdell, Tonia Gray and Karen Malone look at the play behaviours of children at two different early childhood centres. One is in an old warehouse where the children have no access to an outdoor environment. The second centre has a large outdoor play area and a programme focus on sustainable education. …

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