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dc.contributor.advisorBoyes, Mike
dc.contributor.authorMcNatty, Shannon
dc.identifier.citationMcNatty, S. (2014). Girls Identity and Learning in Outdoor Education (Thesis, Master of Physical Education). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractThis thesis examines the residential outdoor education programme of New Zealand’s St Cuthbert’s College, a private girls’ school, in which year 10 girls (14 years old) live at the remote Kahunui campus for 28 days. The philosophy of Kahunui involves developing self-belief through a programme founded on building the girls’ strengths. They experience the outdoors through embodied adventure and journeys, building strong connections and relationships with others, creating environmental awareness and engaging in sustainable practices. The learning opportunities are wide ranging, with activities that enable the girls to be active, healthy, and challenge gender-based restrictions. The girls are removed from many aspects of familiarity in their city lives. The research questions focus on the effect of the Kahunui programme on the girls’ sense of identity and outdoor learning. In addition, the study explores the girls’ transition and return to their regular lives and the long-term impact of the experience. A social constructionist research methodology was employed and twelve semi-structured interviews were carried out with: (1) staff at Kahunui; (2) staff at the St Cuthbert’s College campus; (3) current students at Kahunui; and (4) previous Kahunui students. Observational data from both Kahunui and St Cuthbert’s was obtained along with the researcher’s insights. On the girls return from Kahunui, St Cuthbert’s staff reported significantly altered social dynamics, which affected the girls’ learning and attitudes in both the short and long term. This study demonstrates that development of identity is a dynamic process, mediated and influenced by the diversity of the girls’ experiences. The research highlights the girls’ development of insight and character from their perspectives and understandings of the experience at Kahunui. As well as learning the physical skills of the outdoor pursuits, the girls gain insights regarding the lifelong values and behaviours from continued participation in the outdoors. The girls demonstrate positive relationships with others and nature, an understanding of healthy lifestyles and sustainable practices, and an enhanced sense of self both as a young person and as a woman. This study indicates clear pedagogical links between the Kahunui outdoor education programme and the vision and key competencies of the New Zealand curriculum. It also highlights the importance of support by both senior management and the school community for the philosophy and pedagogy of a successful outdoor programme.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.titleGirls Identity and Learning in Outdoor Education
dc.language.rfc3066en Education of Physical Education of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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