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Photo by Andrea Cosgrove

Outdoor Education 2019

Allan Kane —

It is always interesting meeting the students who have chosen to take Outdoor Education for the first time. I can’t help but stereotypically classify them into groups – this year I had “the lads”, “the fashionistas”, “the quiet ones” and “the let's do this crew”.

A large chunk of the work for the year uses the outdoors as the context to assess students on their social growth and development, and social responsibility. Using self and peer reviewing plus term by term adult assessor input the students track their progress.

Can they do the practical tasks and back this up with the theoretical work in class? It has been interesting to see who did what. Almost all had no dramas completing the practical work – yes it was challenging but do-able.

As the year progressed the class grew from a collection of groups into the outdoor education whānau who looked after each other.

The absolute highlight for me was seeing this in action on our final trip of the year. Students sharing each others loads, helping with tent pitching and food cooking. It was a 'full on' trip as the weather conspired against us. Night one saw us pitching the tents in a blizzard but the Hornby High School crew nailed it (another school bailed into a nearby hut during the night as their tent pitching wasn’t as flash as ours). By night two the snow had gone but we had a very strong blustery wind come up during the night. I woke and quietly watched (without them knowing) as the students helped each other make sure their tents stayed safe and secure. The students made me very proud.

It has been a pleasure watching the students overcome difficulties and grow in themselves as they have completed the year and gone on to gain credits in the various skills taught during the year. I am looking forward to following their progress next year and in the future.