|dc.description.abstract||Outdoor education in Singapore is gaining traction with recent policy changes emanating from the Government’s National Outdoor Education Masterplan. Concerningly, a lack of critical examination and review of the policy and provision have resulted in schools adopting ‘imported’ pedagogical theories and practices that may not be relevant in the Singaporean context. This research project aimed to transform the thinking about dominant Singaporean practice with the over-emphasis placed upon the mastery of outdoor skills and the promotion of personal and social development. As an alternative, the adoption of a sustainable, place-responsive pedagogy to embrace not only personal development but also the social, cultural, historical and ecological aspects of local landscapes, places, and communities is explored. In this way, a more balanced and broader outdoor education curriculum is developed that embraces the development of the individual entwined with education for a sustainable ecological future. Hence, a broader range of contemporary cross-curricular goals are achievable.
Case study and participatory action research are employed as methodologies and structuration theory by Giddens (1984) provides the theoretical framework for the qualitative data analysis and interpretation. The project centres around two case study schools and their staff and students in interaction with government education facilitators. The Phase One (pre-project adoption phase) outcomes confirm the dominant thinking in adventure-based programming of the teacher-collaborators. They focused on adventure’s role in building resilience, ‘character’, social-emotional outcomes and 21st century competencies and values in their students. The adoption of the place-responsive approach has resulted in a change in the teacher-collaborators’ conception of outdoor education to include other aspects of learning beyond adventure-based activities. The Phase Two findings (project adoption phase) revealed the values of a place-responsive approach in achieving wider learning objectives for personal development, the development of student and teacher agency and the fostering of teacher to student and student to student relationships.
Enabling factors to the successful adoption of the place-responsive programme included: (a) a conducive school culture that actively encouraged outdoor learning, (b) a supportive and trusting school leadership, (c) committed and competent outdoor education teachers, and (d) effective allocation of resources. The disablers included: (a) teacher-collaborators’ limited knowledge and teaching experiences in place-responsive pedagogy, (b) uncommitted form class teachers, (c) unreliable service providers engaged, and (d) inadequate allocation of time for students to immerse in the place experiences.
By anchoring learning through authentic settings and real world situations in the outdoors, the students and teachers were able to learn, connect and respond to their places and communities and engage in the ecological issues therein. This study shows how outdoor adventure and place-responsive pedagogies can be integrated. Together they form a sustainable pedagogy to develop the Ministry of Education’s desired student learning outcomes of confident people, self-directed learners, concerned citizens and active contributors.||