Moving beyond methodising theory in preparing for the profession

Kathleen Mahon, Heidi Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For those preparing for outdoor education and related professions, formal theory has an important role to play in terms of informing professional practice and understandings of teaching-learning dynamics. Despite this, surprisingly little is understood about how pre-service outdoor educators (POEs) view and engage with it in their preparation courses. Drawing on findings of a case study in an Australian outdoor education teacher education (OETE) course, this article explores POE theory engagement focussing on a problematic tendency to methodise formal theory, that is, to treat theories as formula for action. The authors argue that this tendency is concerning because it ignores the complexity and problematic nature of both theory-practice relationships and outdoor education pedagogy. The discussion highlights contributing factors and implications for OETE, especially with respect to enabling aspiring outdoor educators in tertiary courses to move beyond methodising theory as they enter the outdoor profession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
Early online date29 Oct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Oct 2019


  • outdoor education
  • theory-practice relationships
  • teacher education
  • praxis
  • preservice teachers


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