Outdoor Education is the teaching of knowledge about the outdoors using broad ranges of experiences, mediums, and people within different environments.
Outdoor Education is a means of approaching educational objectives through guided direct experiences of the environment using its resources as learning materials. (Thomson, 1990:32)
Outcomes can be achieved through outdoor pursuits, environmental awareness activities, group initiative tasks, and adventure education. Activities of 'perceived risk' enables individuals to develop safety measures, experience adventure, learn about themselves and other participants', develop skills, whilst participating within an enjoyable task.
Adventurous tasks create emotions, desires and satisfaction that are a 'natural high'.
Adventures are direct experiences, which initiate and expose us to a full range of our deepest feelings and emotions. (Badenoch, 1984:8)
Adventure provides challenges for individuals, or "uncertain outcomes with perceived risk" (Bolton, 1999).
The activity to expose individuals to nature and conservation is my personal goal within my teaching in Outdoor Education and society.
The environment provides time to take in one's surroundings and to reflect; reflect about one's role during the experience, one's life, the environment, and the forces of nature.
Following the action a period of reflection enables the integration of new discoveries and understandings of self and environment with past perceptions. (Nettleton, 1997:202)
The environment, or 'nature's playground', allows individuals to reflect within the silence of its own surrounds.
Structured experiences in the outdoors can allow achievable outcomes for individuals and groups to be accomplished.
The fundamental purpose of a course that places people in a natural environment during their learning experience is to increase the magnitude and extent that the key elements of personal development, successful leadership, and effective teams become real aspects of their behaviour....(Cacioppe and Adamson, 1988:78 in Hayllar and Taylor, 1996:19)
Post-experience change in the outdoor environment can be evident in aspects of an individual's personal and social life physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Why Outdoor Education?
The outdoor environment provides opportunities for individuals and groups to learn and develop attributes, a sense of adventure, and personal and group skills. The environment needs to be appreciated and preserved as it provides a place to learn, reflect, evaluate, and share experiences. A holistic outdoor education program provides success, intrinsic values, and foundations for life. Leadership, organisational, communication, decision-making skills are all attributes that generates achievement within life.