Inspiration from the outside
Findings from the ongoing longitudinal investigation into UWCSEA’s Outdoor Education programme are demonstrating substantial and consistent changes in students’ skills and qualities. This update offers a glimpse into the elements of the UWCSEA learner profile that students report they are developing most, and points to how the College’s Outdoor Education curriculum in the Middle and High School provides the avenues for this growth.
About the Oregon State University study
This comprehensive evaluation aims to understand the effectiveness of UWCSEA’s expedition programme, by attempting to answer some challenging and complex questions on the emotional, psychological and overall wellbeing impact of our Outdoor Education programme on our students. We hope it will give us further insight into what we have observed anecdotally and learned through experience: that outdoor education experiences have a positive, long term impact on students that stays with them and is transformational.
The researchers are experts in experiential education and social psychology. The benefit of a longitudinal study lies in the ability to analyse patterns that emerge over time. It gives us an in depth perspective on student learning and over the last few years has affirmed the role that resilience, commitment to care, and communication play during expeditions. Findings shared each year offer glimpses of emerging themes, and have already helped us to refine our programme. For example, the decision to redevelop the Grade 8 expedition into “one continuous journey” was affirmed by students insights and onsite programme evaluation work by the researchers. The research also provides insights into some of the interdependencies between elements of our learning programme. Data collection will continue for another two years.