Integrating outdoor education, English and a whole lot of opportunity

Mr Ian Neville1

1Christian College Geelong

Outdoor Education can mean different things to different people, and the benefits can be wide and varied. With the introduction some years ago of the Australian Curriculum, of which outdoor education has not been included, there are still many benefits to incorporating outdoor education into an integrated curriculum. Perhaps our exclusion, is our greatest opportunity.

The aim of my study was to investigate the effect of integrating an outdoor education pedagogy into an English unit of work, and to determine the impacts of such an intervention on student learning.

I will discuss how outdoor education was integrated into a middle years English program with a focus on students’ creative writing. While on a hike in the Otways, students were required to select one of five scenarios in which to write their creative story. Once they reached ‘The Canyon’, the students were positioned independently and asked to completed a five senses writers grid before beginning their story. The following few weeks provided time to restructure their stories back in the classroom. At the conclusion of the task students were asked to complete an ‘Exit Card’ to gain insight into their perspective of the program.

This research questions who the teacher really is. Students learnt through their experience, which was shaped by the outdoor environment, other pupils, and the teachers. This study provides an example of how outdoor educators can take a leading role in structuring curriculum, integrating one or more subject areas and leading the way towards innovative 21st Century learning.


Ian is a passionate outdoor education teacher and has contributed to the outdoor profession for 11 years. He is currently completing a Masters of Education looking into integrating an outdoor education pedagogy model and its affects on students creative writing in English. He believes in providing students with an educative experience through the outdoors and the integration of multiple subjects as a means in which the profession can grow students in their cognitive, social, emotional and physical wellbeing.

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