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Abstract
Experiential
Educationin
Schools

OutdoorEducationintheSchools:
WhatCanItAchieve?

JamesNeill
Lastupdated:
08May2006

Apaperpresentedtothe10thNationalOutdoor
EducationConference,Sydney,Australia,January20
24,1997*
Abstract
Introduction
Claims,aims&evaluationpractices
Trends&highlights
Outcomestudies
Academicachievement
Programcomponents&characteristics
Schoolclimate&studentculture
Individualdifferences
Comparativestudies&metaanalyses
Barriers&benefits
Conclusions&summary
Footnotes
References
*Somereferenceshavebeencorrectedandupdated,

2006.
Abstract
Althoughoutdooreducationhasbecomefirmlyestablishedinmanyschoolcurricula,itremainsunclearwhatthis
hasachieved.Thispaperreviewsthecurrentstateofresearchonawiderangeofschooloutdooreducation
programs.Thesurprisinglackofgoodqualitystudiespromptedthispapertoemphasizearationalefor
researchandevaluationandtoprovidestrategiesforimplementingmoresystematicstudyofoutdooreducation
programs.
Introduction
Theoriginalaimofthispaperwastoanswersomefundamentalquestions,including:
Whatoutcomesdostudentsachievethroughoutdooreducationprograms?
Dotheoutcomesjustifytheprogramcosts(comparedtotheoutcomesachievedbyothereducational
approaches)?
Whatarethecriticalfactorswhichdetermineoutcomesforindividualstudents?
Howhaveoutdooreducatorsappliedresearchandevaluationtotheongoingimprovementanddevelopment
ofoutdooreducationprogramsforschoolstudents?
Unfortunately,thereisasurprisingpaucityinthequalityandvarietyofresearchandevaluationstudiesinthis
field.Therearesomenotableexceptions,howeverthesestudiesdonotconstituteasufficientbodyof
knowledgefromwhichtoanswerthequestionsposed.Consequently,thefocusofthispaperisto:
provideanoverviewoftheclaims,aims,andevaluationpracticesusedbyoutdooreducationprogramswith
schoolstudents
presenttheresearchtrendsandhighlightsomerelevantstudieswhichpointtowardsthepositiveand
negativepotentialsofoutdooreducationforschoolstudents,and
discusssomestrategiesfor,andbenefitsof,overcomingthebarrierstoresearchandevaluationinoutdoor
education.
Claims,aimsandevaluationpractices
Thereisnoshortageofliteraturewhichmakessubstantialclaimsfortheeducationalachievementsof
experientialoutdoorprogramsinschools(e.g.,Keighley,1985a,bMitchell,1992Payne,1993Royce,1987
Thomson,1990).Theseclaimsrangefromtheglobalandcomprehensive,forexamplethatoutdooreducation
isapanaceaforillswhichpervadeourcontemporaryeducationalandsocietalsystems(Gray&Perusco,1993,
p.20),toextensivelistsofspecificphysical,social,intellectual,andpsychologicaloutcomes.
Forsomepeoplethevalueofoutdooreducationprogramsisselfevidentandtheyrequirenofurtherjustification
orproof.Thispositiontendstobeheldbyoutdoorinstructorsandenthusiasts.Forothers,asystematicand
rigorousapproachisrequiredtounderstandtheprocessesandoutcomesofoutdooreducation.Thisposition
tendstobetakenbyfundingagencies,researchers,academics,someschoolprincipals,andaminorityof
outdooreducators.Clearly,itisalsothepointofviewexpressedinthispaper.
Inattemptingtoreviewtheevaluationliterature,itisimportanttoestablishapictureoftherangeofaimsfor
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outdooreducationprogramswithschoolstudents.
McRae(1990b)conductedasurveyofoutdooreducatorsintwentyfiveschoolsintheAustralianCapital
Territory,reportingontheirassumptionsaboutoutdooreducationandtheobjectivesoftheirprograms.He
rankedandcategorizedthestatedobjectivesoftheoutdooreducationprograms(seeTable1).Threeoutof
everyfiveprogramshadobjectivesrelatingtotheenhancementofpersonalqualitiesandcapacitiesandof
relationswithotherpersons1.Followupinterviewswiththesurveyinformantssuggestedthatpersonaland
socialobjectiveswereintendedevenwhentheywerenotstatedincurriculumdocuments.Itwasthoughtthat
manyoutdooreducationteachersconsideredthatitwasnotnecessarytostatetheobvious(McRae,1990b,
p.25).
Table1.CategoriesandRankingsofBroadObjectives
BroadObjectives

Category

Rank

Developthebasicskillsrequiredtoparticipateinselectedoutdoor
experiences

Outdoorskills

100.0

Developbasicskillsinbushcraft

Outdoorskills

86.0

Developpositiveattitudestophysicalfitness

Personal

65.1

Enhancepersonalqualitiesandabilities

Personal

62.8

Enhancerelationswithothers

Social

55.8

Developpositiveattitudestoleisure

Personal

53.5

Becomeenvironmentallyconcerned

Environmental
concern

51.2

Becomeproficientinthebasicskillsofmapreadingand
navigation

Outdoorskills

46.5

Enhancetheirabilitiestoplanoutdoorexperiences

Outdoorskills

44.6

Developbasicskillsinfirstaid

Outdoorskills

39.5

10

Copewithemergenciesintheoutdoors

Outdoorskills

37.2

11

Enhancelearninginarangeofcurriculumareas

Learning

18.6

12

Note.FromIntroductiontothePurposesandPracticesofOutdoorEducation(p.24)byKeithMcRae(1990)In
K.McRae(Ed.)OutdoorandEnvironmentalEducation:Diversepurposesandpractices(pp.127).Melbourne,
Victoria,Australia:Macmillan.
GiventherangeofobjectivesfoundbyMcRaes(1990b)studyofoutdooreducationprograms,thenext
questionisHowdooutdooreducationprogramsevaluatetheirobjectives?
CheneryandHammerman(1985)surveyedresidentialoutdooreducationcentresintheUnitedStatesabouttheir
evaluationpractices.Theyfoundthatobservationoftheprogramandgroupdiscussionswithparticipants
wereusedasevaluationtoolsin90%and79%ofcentresrespectively.Thepredominantuseofthese
evaluationmethodsisconsistentwiththelackofwrittenresearchandevaluation.Whilesittinginagroup
discussingopinionsandfeelingsplayanimportantroleforparticipantsinmostoutdooreducationprograms,
outdooreducatorsneedtobewaryofusingthesamemethodologyforthetasksofprogramevaluationand
programdevelopment.Thisisanimportantpointwhichisoftenmissed:outdooreducatorsmustbecarefulnot
toconfusetheirmediumwiththeirmethod.Themediummaywellbeexperientiallearning,butthemethod
needstobeacarefullyplanned,deliveredandevaluatededucationalprocess.
In1990,McIntyremadetheoptimisticobservationthattheAustralian(andNewZealand)sceneisbeginningto
movefromitspreviousfascinationwithprogramdescription,andexhortation,toanempiricalstagewhich
attemptstoexaminetheprocessofoutdooreducationanditsimpactonparticipants(p.230).Unfortunately
thefieldisstillcharacterisedbyapottedhistoryofstudiesofvaryingqualityandhasyettobuilda
comprehensiveandrigorousbodyofresearchbasedknowledge.
Despitethelackofsystematicevaluation,theprevalenceofoutdooreducationprogramsinourschoolsappears
tobeflourishing.Thisstateofaffairsis,however,farfromideal.Inanindustryexperiencingrapidincreases
incompetition,outdooreducationproviderswoulddowelltotakeituponthemselvestoinvestinresearchand
evaluationpractices,ifonlyforthebottomlinesakeoftheirownlivelihood.
Ifoutdooreducationprovidersdonottaketheonusuponthemselvestoevaluatetheirprograms,thedemand
willsooncomefromtheirclients.Increasingpressurehasbeenplacedonschoolsinthe1990stoeducatethe
wholestudent.AsBeane(1991)observes,thequestionisnotwhetherschoolsshouldenhancestudents
selfesteem,buthowtheyproposetodoso(p.25).Notonlyareschoolsaskedtoimproveselfesteem,butit
isonlybyevaluatingtheeffectivenessofselfesteemactivities[that]...schoolpersonnel[can]beassuredtheir
interventionsareontarget(Scott,Murray,Mertens,&Dustin,19996,p.293).Thelackofevaluationisstarting
toworkagainstoutdooreducation,forexampleWhitehead(1992)observedthatwhilecampingprogramsare
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entrenchedinthefabricofmostschools,afewaretentativelyexaminingwhethertohaveacampingprogram
atall(p.25).
Schoolauthoritiesareperfectlyjustifiedinapplyingpressuresforresultstooutdooreducationproviders.Itis
theclientdrivenandfundingdrivendemandsofcorporateoutdoorprogramsandadventuretherapyprograms
thathavelargelymotivatedmuchlargerbodiesofresearchinthesefields.Theproblemforoutdooreducation
providersisthatunlesstheytaketheinitiativetointroduceanduseappropriateperformanceindicators,school
authoritieswillsoonimposetheirownevaluationagendas.
Trendsandhighlights
BarretandGreenaway(1995,p.53)recentlycritiquedresearchonoutdooradventureforyoungpeoples
personalandsocialdevelopment.CommentingonresearchoutsidetheUnitedKingdom,theyreportedthe
followingweaknesses:
littleattentionisgiventoyoungpeoplesownaccountsandperspectives
muchresearchisofaoneoffnatureandthereisadearthofcoordinatedresearchprograms
identifiedoutcomesareassumedtobecausedbytheadventureingredientofoutdooradventurewitha
consequentfailuretorecognisethesignificanceofotheringredients
muchoftheresearchcannotbegeneralizedtoothersituationsbecauseitisfocusedonspecificprograms
thereisalackoflongtermstudies
thereisanabsenceofresearchexaminingthefailureofparticularoutdooradventureexperiences
thereisagapbetweenpracticeandresearch,withatendencyamongresearcherstowriteforan
academicaudience
manystudiesareflawedbylowquestionnairerates,smallsamplesizes,alackofbasiccontextualor
statisticalinformation,oranabsenceofsuitablecontrolorcomparisongroups.
BearingtheharshbutfaircriticismsofBarretandGreenaway(1995)inmind,wecanexaminetrendsand
highlightsintheresearchliterature,andlooktowardsafocusforfutureefforts.
Outcomestudies
Outcomestudiesmeasuringchangesinareassuchasselfesteem,selfconcept,selfefficacy,andsoon,have
beenthemostcommonstyleofformalresearchandevaluationinoutdooreducationforschoolstudents.The
vastmajorityofoutcomestudieshavebeenonOutwardBoundprogramsoverseas(e.g.Carpenter,1958as
citedinFletcher,1971Elledge,1973Koepke,1973Lovett,1971Naches&Roberts,1967Schulze,1971
Smith,1971Stimpson&Petersen,1970)andmorerecentlyonOutwardBoundprogramsinAustralia(Craigie,
1996Goodman,1995McDonald,1997Neill,1994Neill&Heubeck,1995bNussbaumer,1988Parle,
1986a,bPurdie&Neill,1999Richards,1987Richards&Richards,1981Spinaze,1986G.Wells,personal
communication,September23,1996).GeneralizationoftheresultsofOutwardBoundstudiestootheroutdoor
educationprogramsis,however,generallynotappropriate(Hattie,Marsh,Neill,&Richards,1997McIntyre,
1987).Hattie,etal.foundhighlyvariableoutcomesbetweendifferentoutdooreducationprogramsandeven
betweenOutwardBoundschools.
OutcomestudiesonoutdooreducationprogramsforschoolstudentsotherthanOutwardBoundaremorescarce,
particularlyinAustralia.OfnotearestudiesbyMcIntyre(1987)onprimaryschoolstudents,McRae(1990a)and
Cope(1995)onhighschoolstudents,andGray(Gray&Patterson,1995Gray,Patterson,&Linke,1993)on
extendedstayoutdooreducationschoolprogramssuchasTimbertop.Inaddition,therearesomeinteresting
recentandinprogresspostgraduatestudiesCohen(1996)ontheOutdoorActivitiesGroup[morerecently
knownastheOutdoorEducationGroup]schoolprograms,Pryor(1997)onattitudechangeswithstudents
attendingtheMittagundiprogram,andW.Davis(personalcommunication,September27,1996)ontheoutdoor
educationprogramattheBlueMountainsGrammarSchool.
Consideredtogether,theoutcomestudiessuggestthepotentialofoutdooreducationtoprovideeffective
personalgrowthexperiencesforschoolstudents.However,theresultsindicatealowtomoderateamountof
changeisactuallyachieved,withconsiderablevariabilityinoutcomesbetweenvariousprograms(Cason&Gillis,
1994Hattie,etal.,1997).
Academicachievement
Thereisadistinctshortageofstudiesinvestigatingthepotentialofoutdooreducationtoenhanceacademic
achievement.AstudybyMarshandRichards(1988)reportedlargeacademicandselfconceptimprovements
yet,exceptforfurtheranalysisbyGouvernet(1988),thishasnotinspiredotherpractitionersorresearchersto
seekreplicationorfurtherapplicationofaveryeffectiveoutdooreducationacademicinterventionprogram.
Programcomponentsandcharacteristics
Howdooutdooreducatorsdecideonprogramlengthandasequenceofactivities?AstudybyThomas(1992)
indicatedthatthepredominantinfluenceonoutdooreducationpractitionersistheircolleaguesandthatthis
influenceismoreintheareaofprogramcontentthaninareasofprocessortheory.Thisfindingwarrantssome
concernthatpractitionersmaynotbemakingappropriateuseoftheavailableresearchfindingsontheeffectof
programlengthandcontent.
Thomas(1985)studiedtheeffectofcourselengthonselfconceptchangesinjuniorschoolparticipantson
OutwardBoundprograms.Hereportednodifferencesinselfconceptimprovementsbetweenstudents
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participatingin14and21dayprograms,althoughthemetaanalysesbyGillisandCason(1994)andHattie,et
al.(1997)foundthatlongerprogramswereassociatedwithmoreeffectiveoutcomes.Aspressureisappliedto
outdooreducatorstodelivershorterandshorterprograms,itisimportantthattheimplicationsofprogram
length,suggestedbytheresearchfindings,aretakenintoaccount.
Anotherareaforprogrammingresearchistoinvestigatetheeffectofspecificprogramcomponentsonschool
students.ExamplesofresearchinthisareaareWildes(1994)measurementofchildrensphysiological
responsesduringparticipationinropescourses,NeillandHeubecks(1995a)testingofgirlsanxietyand
confidenceresponsestoabseiling,McKennas(1995)investigationoftheroleofreflectivejournalsinchanging
selfconcept,andHasties(1992)studyofstudentsenjoymentofadventureactivities.Despitethese
beginnings,ShoresconclusionaboutOutwardBoundstudiesin1977(ascitedinKesselheim,1978)isstill
relevanttoday:
theresearchliterature...isweak.Ithasfocusedondisciplinaryissues(selfconcept,selfesteem)to
thevirtualexclusionoftheirrelationshiptoprogrammaticissues(lengthofcourse,mixofactivities,
andnatureofinstruction).Therehavebeenfewattemptstolinkoutcomemeasureswithprogram
components,andverylittlestatisticalanalysisinthissense,asopposedtostatisticalreporting.
Inanattempttoaddresssuchissues,Neill(1994)reviewedtheliteratureonthecharacteristicsofpersonal
changeprogramsconductedinschools,andpredictedthatthemosteffectiveprogramswould:
bephysicallyoriented
usetheschoolcontext(i.e.beconductedthroughtheschool),buttakeplaceawayfromtheschoolsetting
takeplaceina24houradaysetting(i.e.studentsdonotreturntohomeorschoolduringtheprogram)
beofalongduration(e.g.atleastaweek)
beconductedbytherapistsortrainedgroupleaders(ratherthanteachers)
incorporatetheaimsofadolescents,parentsandteachers,and
includeteachers,parentsandothersinvolvedwithadolescentsastargetsintheprogram.
Itwouldbeexcitingtoseetheoutdooreducatorindustrytakeupthechallengeofsystematicallytestingthese
programcharacteristicsandmeasuringcorrespondingchangesineffectiveness.
Schoolclimateandstudentculture
Outdooreducationstudiestypicallymeasurechangeusingindividualstudentsasunitsofanalysis.Anarea
awaitingfurtherinvestigationistheeffectthatoutdooreducationprogramscanhaveonschoolclimateand
studentculture.
AnexampleofthepossibilitiesinthisareaisastudybyParle(1986a,b)whichinvestigatedtheselfefficacyof
twogroupsoffemaleschoolsstudentsfromthesameschool.Selfefficacyreferstoanindividualsbeliefin
hisorherabilitytosuccessfullyperformarangeofbehavioursortasks.InParlesstudy,onegroupof
studentschosetoparticipateinanOutwardBoundprogram,whiletheothergroupchosetostayatschool.
TheselfefficacyofthestudentsattendingtheOutwardBoundprogramincreasedmorethanforthegirls
remainingatschool,howeverwhentheOutwardBoundgroupreturnedtotheschool,therewasacorresponding
increaseintheselfefficacyofthestudentswhohadnotattendedtheOutwardBoundprogram.Thiswasan
unanticipatedfindingwhichsuggestedthattheOutwardBoundattendeeshadapositivesocialinfluenceonthe
nonattendees.
AnotherexampleofresearchinthisareawasastudybyMcConnnell(1985ascitedinAbbott,1987)whichfound
dramaticimprovementsinstudentteacherrelationshipsasreportedbyChristchurchsecondarystudents
followinganoutdooreducationexperience.
Individualdifferences
Thereisatendencyforoutdooreducationprogramstobedesignedandconductedasthoughstudentsarea
homogenousgroup.Otherareasofeducation,includingsubjectsasdiverseasmathematicsandphysical
education,arewellaheadofoutdooreducationinprogrammingforindividualdifferencessuchasgender,
academicability,andphysicalcompetence.Healthprofessionalsandsportspsychologistsarenowusing
sophisticatedtoolsformeasuringindividualsreadinessforchangeandthenapplyingspecificintervention
strategiesappropriatetotheirneeds(e.g.Gorley&Gordon,1995).
Afurtheraspectofindividualdifferenceslargelyignoredinoutdooreducationresearchisthatoutdoorprograms
arenotalwaysbeneficialtoallparticipants.Evidenceanddiscussiononthismatterhasonlybegunappearing
relativelyrecently(Druian,Owens,&Owens,1986Kiewa,1992Mackay,1981McIntyre,1987Richards,
1987Voight,1988Wurdinger,1995)anddeservesmuchmoreattention.
Comparativestudiesandmetaanalyses
Comparativestudiesofoutcomesfromdifferentoutdooreducationprogramsarerare,particularlyforschool
studentprograms.Thisisunfortunate,giventhepotentiallyrichandvaluableinformationthatsuchstudies
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couldprovide.Theonlycomparativestudyofschooloutdooreducationprogramsfoundforthisreviewwas
Nussbaumers(1988)thesisonchangesinphysicalselfconcept.
Inrecentyears,outdooreducationresearchershavestartedtousemetaanalysis.Thisinvolvesarelatively
simplestatisticalprocedureforsummarizingtheresultsofmanydifferentstudies.Hattie(1992)conducteda
metaanalysisofselfconceptchangeprograms,includingcognitivelyorientedprograms,emotionallyoriented
programsandarangeofotherapproaches.Oneofthecategorieswiththehighestlevelofchangewas
physicallyorientedprograms,withthesubgroupofcampsandsummerschoolsachievingthehighestlevelof
changeinthestudy.Intriguedbythisfinding,Hattie,etal.(1997)conductedametaanalysiswhichfocusedon
151studiesofadventureprogramoutcomes.Theresultsindicatedmuchlargereffectsforadultsthanfor
students.Inaddition,ofparticularlyconcernforoutdooreducators,wasthefindingthattheoveralloutcomes
forstudentswerelessthanforoutcomesreportedbystudiesofinnovative,nonadventurebasedprogramsfor
schoolstudents.
AmetaanalysisconductedbyCasonandGillis(1994)focusedspecificallyonoutdooradventureprogram
outcomesforadolescents.Using43studies,theresultslinkedlargereffectstoyoungerstudentsandlonger
programs.Overall,theeffectsintheCasonandGillisstudywerelargerthanforthesameagegroupinHattie,
etal.s(1997)study.LikeHattie,etal.,however,CasonandGilliscommentedonawidevariabilityin
outcomes,rangingfromnegativethroughtohighlypositive.
Barriersandbenefits
Itisinterestingthatoutdooreducatorsreadilydeliverchallengesthroughtheirprograms,butrarelyseek
challengesabouttheirprograms.Withoutongoingresearchandevaluationtochallengeoutdooreducators,
idiosyncratic,ineffectiveorevennegativeprogramscanevolveandbedelivered.Yetcommitmenttoapositive
cycleofobjectiveevaluationfollowedbysystematicprogramadjustmentsholdspromiseforofferingsignificant
benefitsforstudentslearningoutcomes.
So,whataretheperceivedbarrierstoagreaterroleforresearchandevaluationinoutdooreducationprograms
forschoolstudents?Thechiefbarrieristhattheoutdooreducationculturedoesnotcollectivelyvalueorinvite
criticalappraisalofitspractices.Wholehearted,longtermembodimentofresearchandevaluationpractices
withinoutdooreducationorganisationsareveryrareandhaveinvariablyresultedfromthevisionand
commitmentofsingleindividuals(e.g.GarryRichardspreviouslyatOutwardBoundAustralia,ColinAbbott
throughorganisationssuchasTheOutdoorExperienceProgram,BrianNettletonwhohasrecentlyretiredfrom
UniversityofMelbourne,andfromoverseas,SimonPriestwiththeCorporateAdventureTrainingInstituteat
BrockUniversity).
Establishingacultureofongoingevaluationisnoteasy.Atfirsttherecanbefear,hesitancy,andskepticism
aboutthevalueandpurposeofresearchandevaluationinoutdooreducation.However,ifconducted
professionally,feedbackabouttheresultscanincreasestaffunderstandingandbeusedtoimproveprogram
designandprocesses.Withstaffonside,thecultureofevaluationcanbecomeselfperpetuatingandset
programdevelopmentonanupwardspiral.
Oneoftheinitialdeterrentstoevaluationisthatdemonstratingsignificantandreliablechangesforshort
programsconductedwithadolescentsisnoteasy.Fledglingattemptsatformalevaluationoftenprovide
disappointingresultsandtheevaluationprocessgoesnofurther.Yet,poorresultsareanimportantbeginning.
Dependingonthesituation,thenextstepmayinvolvedevelopingmoreappropriateresearchmethodsor
employingstrategiestoimproveprogramquality.
Aperceivedlackoftimeandexpertiseisanotherbarriertoresearchandevaluation.Thisiswhereutilizing
externalexpertise,suchasauniversity,canhelp.Thisdoesnot,however,guaranteetheestablishmentof
ongoingevaluationprocessesdesignedtomeettheneedsofaparticularschoolororganisation.Morelikelyto
befruitfularecollaborativepartnershipswithestablishedresearchprogramsintheoutdooreducationindustry.
Costisoftenperceivedasanotherbarrier.Thereality,however,isthateconomicvalueflowsfromwell
designedresearchandevaluation.Theresultscanbeusedforinternalprogramdevelopment,giventoclients
toenhanceongoingrelations,disseminatedtothebroadercommunity,andpresentedtofundingbodiesand
sponsorstohelpjustifyandencouragetheircontributions.
Afurtherperceivedbarrierthatcanbeovercomeisorganisationalsize.AsuccessstoryisTheOutdoor
ExperienceinVictoriawhichrunsseveralprogramsforatriskanddrugproblemyoutheachyearwitha
coupleofstaff.Despiteaminimumofresources,TheOutdoorExperiencehastakentheinitiativetoget
assistanceandcannowboastasmallbutvaluablebodyofresearchontheirprograms(Abbott,1990
GrassmereYouthServices,1995Holmes,1996Neill,1996Scott,1995).Itisunfortunatethatsimilar
examplescannotbedrawnfrommainstreamoutdooreducationprogramswithschoolstudents.
Conclusionsandsummary
Contrarytocommonbelief,theresearchevidencedoesnotshowthatoutdooreducationisinherentlygood.
Overall,thereisevidenceforagreatdealofvariabilityinoutcomesbetweendifferentstudies,different
programs,anddifferentindividuals.Thepotentialvalueofoutdooreducationforschoolstudentsisindicatedby
somestudieswhichdemonstratehighlypositivelearningoutcomes.Therearemanymorestudies,however,
whichshowthatlowtomoderatechangesareachieved.Afurtherconcernisthatanunknownnumberof
studieswithlessthanpositivefindingsaresimplynotpublished.Wereitnotforthenotableeffortsofasmall
numberofindividualsandinstitutions,thevolumeandqualityofavailableresearchevidencewouldbecausefor
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evengreaterconcernthanisalreadythecase.
ReturningtothequestionOutdooreducationintheschoolswhatcanitachieve?,theansweristhatwe
dontyetknow.Whatsmore,unlessresearchandevaluationisincludedasafundamentalcomponentof
outdooreducation,wewillcontinuenotknowing.
Todate,thevastmajorityofoutdooreducationprogramshavebeensustainedbyanactoffaith.Wecan
choosetocontinuewalkingalongthepathoffaith,however,thiswillrequireprayingharderthaneverthat
schools,teachers,parents,andfundingbodiesdontdarequestiontheevidenceforthatfaith.
Footnotes
1SimilarconclusionscanbedrawnfromMastersthesesbyMackay(1981),basedoninterviewswith90New
Zealandteachers,Thomas(1992),basedoninterviewswith8outdooreducationpractitionersinSouthEast
Queensland,andHuxley(1995),basedonanalysisofoutdooreducationprogramsinnineeliteSydneyschools.
2AstudybyLambert(1978)wasnoted,butnotobtainedforthisreview.
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