A critical analysis of the high school outdoor education program in New Brunswick

Gibbs, Shaun (2017) A critical analysis of the high school outdoor education program in New Brunswick. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Outdoor Education (OE) is a possible solution to the lack of outdoor activity currently experienced by young Canadians; one that has the potential to significantly improve their mental and physical health. OE in the province of New Brunswick’s (NB) high school system takes the form of the Outdoor Pursuits (OP) course.This program evaluation investigated the effectiveness of the 1995 NB OP curriculum from the perspective of its teachers and has provided evidence supporting the value of teaching OE. Using a sequential mixed-methods approach, I gained a deeper understanding of the effectiveness of the OP program, the value the teachers place on it and the potential benefits associated with working with youth in nature. Due to the low number of respondents, this study lacks statistical validity; however, it effectively provides a rationale for maintaining and enhancing the OP program in the province of New Brunswick. Based on my research and the values placed on all the past outcomes, by the OP teachers, recommendations for an updated curriculum include that the outcomes be streamlined into four headings: ecological literacy, technical skill development, well-being, and group dynamics. I found that high school OE programs typically fall under the purview of the Physical Education curriculum and are therefore bound to the PE value orientations. As such, based on this research I have suggested a new OE-specific value orientation to help future OE curriculum developments. Recommendations include conducting a wider Canadian or North American study on OE, and following up on the impact of OE on high-school aged students.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/13041
Item ID: 13041
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 106-121).
Keywords: Outdoor Education, Outdoor Pursuits, High School, Value Orientation
Department(s): Human Kinetics and Recreation, School of > Physical Education
Date: November 2017
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Outdoor education -- New Brunswick; Outdoor education -- Study and teaching

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