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Academic Teachers' Perceptions and Experiences of Outdoor Education
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Outdoor education constitutes an alternative teaching approach that is characterized by authentic experiences and activities in outdoor natural and cultural landscapes. As a relatively new and progressive teaching method, it tries to find and consolidate its place within the existing educational system. The current thesis explores Greek academic teachers’ perceptions and experiences in the field of outdoor education. More specifically, eight academic teachers from a Greek university express their views about outdoor education and report their experiences in outdoor lessons. Through a qualitative approach, this research includes analysis of data extracted from semi-structured interviews with the academics. From the thematic analysis of the data four themes emerged that illustrate teachers’ opinions. The results of the research revealed academic teachers’ basic knowledge on the field of outdoor education, as they presented some well-aimed examples of main characteristics of the approach. Moreover, they reported limited previous outdoor experiences with their students and perceive outdoor lessons as any action outside the typical classroom, attributing higher importance to outdoor activities performed in cultural rather than natural landscapes. Also, academics acknowledged several benefits that outdoor education provides to their students such as the stimulation of all their senses, the connection of theory with practice and the promotion of social relations. In addition, they attributed significant importance to both the experiential approach to learning and to the connection with nature that outdoor lessons provide. Nevertheless, academic teachers highlighted many barriers that inhibit their efforts to apply outdoor lessons such as lack of time and appropriate places, inadequate infrastructure, human resources as well as insufficient pedagogical training and preparation. Concluding, what seems to trouble academics most is the prevailing educational culture inside schools and universities as well as teachers’ and academic teachers’ attitudes. The above findings contribute to the current limited scientific knowledge concerning the practice of outdoor education in the higher level of education. Last but not least, further qualitative research is a prerequisite in order to study the origin of the perceptions and attitudes of Greek academics and comprehend the socio-cultural and educational context in which these have been formed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 62 p.
Keyword [en]
Outdoor Education, Academic Teachers, Perceptions, Experiences, Greek Universities, Alternative Teaching Approach, Progressive Education, Benefits, Barriers
National Category
Educational Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-79028ISRN: LIU-IKK-MOE-D--12/009--SEOAI: diva2:537861
Subject / course
Master in Outdoor Environmental Education and Outdoor Life
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2012-06-28 Created: 2012-06-27 Last updated: 2012-06-29Bibliographically approved

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Oikonomou, Sofia
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