Thursday, January 15, 2009

Take it to The Wilderness

For the past two weeks I have discussed three major curriculum models that can positively benefit student outcome. What I want to discuss in my final post is a curriculum model that is not used regularly but certainly is extremely beneficial to a student’s personal growth and maturation. The Wilderness Sport and Adventure Education model is based on three major components. These components include adventure, risk, and challenge; these components are explored through experimental education through the wilderness and nature.
The basis of this model is the relation between the processes of actual experience and education. When taking a class last semester we were given a quote by John Dewey that not only speaks to this model but also can be applied in any educational realm. “Tell me and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve Me and I will understand.” It is with this frame of mind that the Wilderness Sport and Adventure Education model benefits our students.

When looking at this model there are endless activities that can be used. Some of these activities include; high and low ropes courses, hiking, orienteering, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and cycling. While schools may not always have the necessary equipment there are plenty of wilderness based activities that involve little or no equipment at all. The benefits of using this type of model are; group involvement, leisure skills that promote life long fitness, personal commitment, challenge by choice, risk, unique teaching and learning environment, hands on learning, and relationship building. As you can see this model can promote positive outcomes no matter what the age group or grade level.
When beginning this blog I wanted to be able to share my thoughts concerning the variety of different curriculum models that are available in the field of physical education. While during this blog only four major models were discussed, there are certainly many other curriculum models out there. In order to truly understand the impact these models have on not only the field of physical education but to our students as well, one must try it. While class size, equipment, and age can certainly affect the model chosen, my suggestion is to simply experiment. Students love things that are new and exciting and by incorporating different curriculum models you are allowing endless opportunities for student growth and development within the field of physical education.

Here is a link to learn more: Wilderness


  1. I really like the quote by John Dewey, it sums up the learning process so well. It is hard to understand and do what we are only told. Being outside and experiencing other aspects of the world, other then the classroom, really benefits everyone involved. I have great memories of the Cayuga Nature Center ropes course that I was able to participate in when I was in Elementary and Middle school. It really made us work together, enjoy being outside and work on so many life long skills. I hope that all teachers will some day see the benefits of these types of programs and encourage students and teachers to promote and use them. There are so many ways to get students involved and going into the wilderness or even just outside to do an activity allows so many types of skills to be used. I hope that I will be able to incorporate some of these aspects into my health education curriculum someday.

  2. Lou, I love your post on outdoor wilderness training. A forgotten thing, it seems, and a much-needed part of Phys ed. My son will be going to the CNC camp this year, and for exactly that reason. Remember when all kids did was play outside? Now he can, all summer long.

    Blending outdoor education with regular a PE cirricullum is a kick-ass idea, particularly if it involves skill sets like fly fishing (one of my favs), and basic survival.