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Article No.1:  Aims and Objectives of the Mountain Pass programmes:

 

Based on the fundamental principles of Outdoor Education, the following aims and objectives underlie the programmes and activities listed here.

 

  

 1. -To offer participants a valuable opportunity for self-discovery.

 

 2. -To offer participants an opportunity for periods of silence and reflection and spiritual enhancement.

 

 3. -To offer participants an opportunity to train and use imagination and cognitive skills.

 

 4. -To offer participants an opportunity to learn basic camping techniques and experience enjoyable camping.

 

 5. -To offer participants an opportunity to develop multi-tasking and multi-level thinking skills.

 

 6. -To offer participants an opportunity to learn about and experience familiar and unfamiliar environments.

 

 7. -To offer participants an opportunity to learn basic hiking skills and experience good quality, well-organised hiking.

 

 8. -To offer participants an opportunity to learn new personal skills within a context outside the customary formal settings.

 

 9. -To offer participants an opportunity to develop and experience teamwork and put a common cause ahead of individualism.

 

 10. -To offer participants an opportunity to develop the abilities to participate actively in, plan and execute programmes.

 

 11. -To offer participants an opportunity to discuss and experience some of the basic themes offered in Outdoor Education.

 

 12. -To offer participants an opportunity to train and develop physically, improve one’s general state of health and level of endurance.

 

 13. -To offer participants an opportunity to develop sound citizenship attitudes and foster stewardship and care for the environment.

 

 14. -To offer participants an opportunity to visit and experience trans-boundary geographic features that have shaped the history and development of civilizations within and beyond the European context.

 

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Article No.2:  What is Outdoor Education?

 

Here are a few definitions of Outdoor Education with an emphasis on the role played by nature and the environment in education and personal life-long development .

 

1. Outdoor Education is ...

"Education IN, FOR, and ABOUT the outdoors." (Donaldson & Donaldson, 1958, Outdoor Education: A definition. JOPER, 29(17), 63)

 

2. Outdoor Education is ...

"Education 'in', 'about', and 'for' the out-of-doors." (Phyllis For, 1986) 

 

3. Outdoor Education is...

"When small groups of people participate in organized adventurous activities in natural settings and primarily use themselves as the resource for solving problems" (Neill, 2003)

 

4. Outdoor Education is...

"An experiential method of learning with the use of all senses.  It takes place primarily, but not exclusively, through exposure to the natural environment" (Priest, 1990)

 

5. Outdoor Education is...

"An experiential method of learning by doing, which takes place primarily through exposure to the out-of-doors. In outdoor education, the emphasis for the subject of learning is placed on relationships: relationships concerning human and natural resources. (Unknown)

  

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Article No.3:  Why is Outdoor Education relevant to the contemporary European neighbourhood, Part I.

 

 

Educational systems across Europe vary greatly in methodology, scope and dimension. Different societies have, over the centuries, adapted their educational and pedagogical machinery to fit their own realities and social needs. This is not surprising, since every educational system must (at least) satisfy people’s expectations for the contemporary and (more importantly) future generations.

 

On the other hand, few if any European educational systems have been spared from the onslaught brought about by the ever-increasing demands to embrace quantity in content as opposed to sound educational substance based on quality learning. Students and teachers are continuously caught between two fires; that of achieving/supplying a holistic education on one hand, and that of reaching academic excellence at all costs on the other. The latter situation has, in the long term, impoverished the holistic nature of the true educational process since the enhanced focus on some of its dimensions has mostly occurred at the expense of some others.

 

Education in its broader sense is meant to give each candidate the necessary foundations and utility tools necessary to grow and mature into a responsible citizen. Personal qualities such as discipline, compassion, empathy, creative & discovery thinking, as well as responsible citizenship (including care for the environment) are all important qualities that ought to be present in every individual of school leaving age. In this respect European educational systems are lacking in performance on one hand and in the delivery of the desired resultant educational footprint on the other.

 

Admittedly, the introduction of multi-media and the general improvement in teaching and learning resources in recent years has helped to restore some balance, since for example, it is now easier to bring nature into the classroom using audio-visual media. Educational and thought provoking games and computer simulations have also helped bridge the gap by offering opportunities to students to be interactive, inquisitive and to some extent experimental.

 

Notwithstanding the availability of modern tools and the general improvements brought about by the technological revolution, there remains a heavy experimental and discovery deficit within the national educational systems not to mention the lack of frequent contact that a child, pupil, older student or adult has with nature at large. The classroom had, still has and will probably always have its own innate limitations, and such limitations need to be catered for and adequately addressed if holistic education is ever to become a tangible reality.

 

 

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