Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Promoting Social Skills through Outdoor Education and Assessing Its' Effects

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Promoting Social Skills through Outdoor Education and Assessing Its' Effects

Article excerpt

Abstract

Outdoor education is a holistic form of education which aids in overall wellbeing of adolescence, including academic, physical, emotional, social and psychology well being. The aim of this study was to see whether outdoor education promotes social skills and assess its effects on participants. Research sample comprised of 671 adolescence attending a five-day residential outdoor education program. Kolb's Cycle of Learning through Experience is used as the theoretical framework while the research framework is adapted from Carver's Outdoor Education Framework. Social skills measured are cooperative teamwork, leadership ability, and ability to cope with changes. Descriptive and inferential statistics used were t-test, Cohen's D, multiple analysis of variance, and post hoc test. The result showed that the outdoor programme had a significant influence for all the constructs involved in this study. Cohen's D showed that the treatment contributes greatly to leadership ability (60%), and ability to cope with changes (61%). Wilks' Lambda in multiple analysis of variance showed that the outdoor education module contributes significantly high F=30.78, p<0.05; ... to changes in social skills. Analysis of variance showed that there is a retention period whereby the changes in social skills examined remain in the participants for a certain period of time. This retention of changes in social skills is significant for all factors studied which are cooperative teamwork, leadership ability, and ability to cope with changes.

Keywords: social skills, outdoor education, teamwork, leadership

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

1. Introduction

Outdoor education is a holistic form of education which aids in overall wellbeing of adolescence, including academic, physical, emotional, social and psychology well being (Gray & Perusco, 1993; Marsh & Richards, 1988; Davidson, 2001; Hattie, 1997). It provides opportunities for students to apply knowledge and skills to master, especially in real-life situations and increase the level of understanding of the relationship between humans and the environment (Lugg, 1999). Outdoor education program implemented in the school curriculum claims to be very valuable to help the teaching and learning process of formal education in the classroom (Henderson & Barnett, 2001).

The core of the National Education Policy (NEP) of Malaysia aims to produce a balanced and virtuous generation in terms of physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and social well being. The NEP is also geared to meet and realize one of the nine branches of Vision 2020 of creating a caring society and culture. This philosophy also aims to produce Malaysian citizens who are knowledgeable, competent, honorable, responsible and capable of achieving total well-being. Therefore the implementation of a balanced education curriculum should be integrated with the integration of skills, knowledge, values and practices.

Physical Education and Health conducted in secondary schools in Malaysia currently have emphasized the outdoor education program as part of the learning unit to be mastered by all students. However, the implementation of this program is slow and not given priority in the school curriculum. Vasudevan (1989) states that outdoor education is a method that emphasizes learning experience to develop knowledge and provide a medium for socialization process. Outdoor education can enrich the lives of individuals in terms of exposure and experience. Outdoor education uses the natural environment to promote learning and emphasizes real experience to develop and enhance experience in the classroom.

Gass (1995) states that outdoor education helps students learn skills that lead to awareness of thoughts and emotions. Group training activities as part of outdoor education is important. In this activity students have time to experience the emotional changes that occurs during the activities. …

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