This sample Adventure Education Essay is published for informational purposes only. Free essays and research papers, are not written by our writers, they are contributed by users, so we are not responsible for the content of this free sample paper. If you want to buy a high quality essay at affordable price please use our custom essay writing service.
The German educator and politician Kurt Hahn (1886-1974) is known as the “father” of adventure education, which teaches life skills through outdoor activities. As a progressive educator Hahn, who took British citizenship in 1940 after he was arrested by the National Socialists in 1933, regarded traditional education as too weak to counteract the political, social, and moral disease of modern society. By 1920 he began developing a progressive model of education. His emphasis did not lie in pure teaching, but more in character education. The central elements of his model were the physical fitness program, the expedition, the project, and service-oriented activities. According to Hahn, the educational value of the model was greatly diminished if only one element was missing.
He claimed that the physical fitness program helped prevent “underexercise,” with its detrimental effect on the cardiovascular system. Hahn regarded physical activities as an educational means to develop self-discipline, fair play, team spirit, and goal-oriented behavior. Expeditions to the outdoors should inspire the spirit of adventure, he felt, and expeditions and their organizations should nourish character traits that each person should have, such as toughness, care for others, and decision making. The project was to offer people the chance to engage in a subject matter with full dedication and endurance to counteract the swift pace of industrialized life. According to Hahn, the restlessness of modern life decreases compassion. Service-oriented activities should help counteract this decrease and lead to the development of altruism and civic duty.
Hahn’s model, with its four elements, came to fruition in Great Britain. Through various intermediate stages Hahn developed short-term schools. A month-long course was a mixture of athletic endeavors, crosscountry route finding, expeditions into the outdoors, project-oriented activities, and service to local people. Participants were sent by schools, companies, the merchant navy, and police and fire departments. The British shipping magnate Lawrence Holt was particularly impressed by Hahn’s educational model, which Holt regarded as an effective means to train his seamen. In 1941 Holt financed a professional training school named “Outward Bound Sea School Aberdovey.” This name was well chosen because outward bound is the nautical term for a ship’s departure from the certainties of the harbor. During World War II many youngsters who were planning to join the armed forces attended this school.
What became prominent as a wartime school for survival in Great Britain developed into a highly recognized educational program that used adventure experience to stimulate personal growth in the decades after World War II. Today Outward Bound has developed into a global movement. Each Outward Bound school has programs that are attended by participants from target groups, such as managers, pupils, students, drug addicts, and juvenile delinquents. Outward Bound has given rise to a whole industry of adventure education. Numerous organizations had been founded as spinoffs of Outward Bound, and each offers programs aimed at teaching personal growth by adventure.
The popularity of adventure education is a measure of personal needs, which are strongly influenced by current social structures and conditions. The pluralism and individualism of today’s private and professional lives have led to a decrease in the validity of social rules and an increase in competing values. Stable social structures and bonds are replaced by the pressure of self-reliance and the compulsion to be responsible for one’s own actions.
As social relationships begin to disintegrate, the acquisition of social competencies becomes more difficult. On the one hand, life offers more possibilities for experience, scope, and decision making in a heterogeneous and pluralistic society; on the other hand, life demands a higher degree of flexibility, decision-making ability, personal responsibility, and interpersonal patterns of behavior. Daily life is strongly influenced by mechanization and the modern media. The consumption of modern media and the interactive handling of information particularly lead to an estrangement from reality. The limits of reality and the virtual world become more blurred. The stimulus satiation by the modern media pushes people into a passive receptivity that leads to a loss of first-hand experience.
In professional life rationality, effectiveness, and achievement are often the only indicators of human quality. In education cognitive achievements are the most important goals. The result is a growing alienation from the body. Apart from this alienation, urbanization hinders first-hand natural experiences and an easy and healthy engagement in physical activities.
A consequence of this need for experience is an increase in leisure activities. People seek activities that promise to provide personal growth, well-being, and self-determination. In this context adventure education develops its effectiveness. Programs in adventure education have become popular not only in traditional educational settings such as schools, but also in training courses for managers or programs for the socialization of drug addicts, juvenile delinquents, or handicapped people. Rafting and canoeing trips, expeditions into the outdoors, and high rope courses have become popular because they teach social and moral values—traits that are difficult to realize in daily life.
Although adventure education can nourish positive character traits, some people question whether the social and moral skills that participants are taught can be easily transferred to the participants’ daily social and professional lives. The success of transferal is an element of uncertainty in adventure education. In adventure education people are confronted with nonspecific transferal, which means that the learning experiences in adventure education courses take place in an environment (mountains, rivers, lakes, etc.) that is different from the environment in which participants have to make use of such learning experiences.
- Bacon, S. (1987). The evolution of the Outward Bound process. Greenwich, CT: Outward Bound.
- Jenkins, J. M. (Ed.). (2003). Encyclopedia of leisure and outdoor recreation. London: Routledge.
- Miles, J. C. (Ed.). (1990). Adventure education. State College, PA: Venture Publishing.
Free essays are not written to satisfy your specific instructions. You can use our professional writing services to order a custom essay, research paper, or term paper on any topic and get your high quality paper at affordable price. UniversalEssays is the best choice for those who seek help in essay writing or research paper writing in any field of study.