Outdoor education: research topic or universal value? Part One

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Abstract / Description of output

This paper sets out to discover if the history of outdoor education, within the UK and more particularly Scotland, provides its modern exponents with a legacy of prescribed conservatism or alternatively a form of education which embraces, or is capable of embracing, diversity of theory and practice. It begins in the post World War II period entitled “out of the ashes” and charts the history decade by decade.

Secondary sources are used and include statutory instruments as well as the body of literature that relates to outdoor education. The paper has succeeded in adding to the literature through uncovering rarely used sources. Secondary sources have been supplemented by primary data in the form of interviews. The interviews were used to provide detail and fill gaps where secondary sources were lacking.

The time between the post-war period until the end of the 1960s charts the growth of outdoor education provision. This growth is characterised by diversity where common themes such as “fitness for war”, “character building” “social education” “recuperative holiday for socially disadvantaged young people” and “progressive education” emerge as competing and contrasting claims. Consequently it can be stated that outdoor education defies definition in terms of being a fixed entity of common consent, homogeneous over time and space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-41
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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