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Camping on Concrete: Professional Development for Adventurous Activities in Wales

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The growing discourse around 'cotton wool kids', risk aversion, childhood health, activity levels and nature de cit (Gill 2009; Munoz 2009; Louv 2006) has led to concerns about the experiences of children and young people in the education system. By contrast recent changes in the National Curriculum for Physical Education in Wales (2008) have increased the emphasis on learning in the outdoors. At Key Stage 2 (ages 8–11) the programme of study for Physical Education now includes Adventurous Activities1 as a statutory entitlement. A new Outdoor Learning Cards resource and training programme has been developed to assist teachers in the delivery of 'high quality outdoor learning activities and to help young people develop a range of skills related to these activities' (Outdoor Education Advisors Panel, 2008, p. 4). Four designated outdoor learning activities have been identified as the focus of the Outdoor Learning Cards: journeying, team building, bouldering and orienteering. The aim of this research is to investigate the impact of the Outdoor Learning Cards training and resource on adventurous activities provision in schools in west Wales. Data for the study was generated via open-ended questionnaire (23% response rate) and selected interviews from a total of 90 teachers who had attended the training course. Findings suggest that the training and resource is valuable in developing teacher's confidence and expertise. There is also evidence of a broader impact upon complementary forms of adventurous activities pedagogy in schools. Children are reported to be highly enthusiastic and engaged in physical education lessons when using the resources. Teachers also highlighted the positive impact of adventurous activities upon the development of their Key Skills understanding. The research raises issues relating to the limitations and potential of the Outdoor Learning Cards resource to deliver high quality adventurous activities in the curriculum as well as implications for future training course delivery and school-based teacher practice.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2014

More about this publication?
  • Publisher's announcement: please be aware that the publication The Welsh Journal of Education (ISSN 0957-297X) changed the name to Cylchgrawn Addysg Prifysgol Cymru / University of Wales Journal of Education (ISSN 2055-1002) recently. This change is not affecting the archive and you can still find older issues of the publication under this new title.

    Previously published under the title The Welsh Journal of Education, this internationally-distributed annual journal offers an arena for disseminating education research from national and international perspectives. The journal explores a range of controversial arguments relating to education, including areas such as bilingualism, religion in education, well-being and the standards of literacy and numeracy. The contemporary drive for improved education standards, within Wales and internationally, provides a wealth of interdisciplinary research opportunities, and the journal aims to publish research reports relating to these current issues. The journal also includes a comprehensive reviews section.

    Mae'r cylchgrawn blynyddol hwn, a adwaenid gynt fel Cylchgrawn Addysg Cymru, yn trafod agweddau datganoledig ar addysg, ynghyd ag ymdrin ag addysg o safbwynt cenedlaethol a rhyngwladol. Wrth ymhel â materion cyfoes yn ymwneud ag addysg, mae'r drafodaeth yn amlinellu safbwyntiau dadleuol ynghylch dwyieithrwydd a chrefydd yn ogystal â safonau llythrennedd a rhifedd. Mae'r ymdrechion i wella safonau addysg yng Nghymru a thu hwnt yn esgor ar feysydd ymchwil newydd, a bwriad y cyfnodolyn yw cyhoeddi erthyglau cryno yn ymdrin â materion cyfredol o'r fath. Mae'r cyfnodolyn hefyd yn cynnwys adran adolygiadau.
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