Returning to the richness of experience: Is Autoethnography a Useful Approach for Outdoor Educators in Promoting Pro-Environmental Behaviour?

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Abstract

The use of autoethnography in social science research is becoming increasingly popular. The potential this research approach might offer the theory and practice of outdoor education has yet to be fully examined. In this paper autoethnography is used to explore some personal accounts of my own outdoor experiences from which I derive distinctive meanings. Data emerge from an extended solo journey by canoe and sea kayak and a dialectical index is presented to distinguish between two ways of characterising outdoor experiences (adventurous and contemplative). These experiences are then used to contextualise myself, and some ideas, within a wider social world. The paper indicates how environmental philosophy and scientific evidence provide a moral imperative that might act as a guide for outdoor practice. It is argued that such practice must be ontologically grounded in order to explore the possibilities of outdoor experiences in providing moral impulses. The opportunity to think beyond the self also indicates how an autoethnographic lens can provide an approach to teaching and learning to stimulate reflective practice. The findings are presented as exploratory as they invite educators to consider how outdoor experiences might stimulate pro-environmental behaviour both in themselves and their learners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-17
JournalJournal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Outdoor environmental education; Adventure; Pro-environmental behaviour; Autoethnography; Environmental philosophy.

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