Enhancing psychological well-being through various concepts of self in secondary outdoor education

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University of New Brunswick


The present research sought to clarify the types of pedagogical practices that are employed by educators in New Brunswick to enhance the psychological wellbeing of students enrolled in secondary Outdoor Education (OE) courses. Using an Appreciative Inquiry design and methods, purposefully sampled OE instructors engaged in online individual interviews and focus group discussions to share and reflect upon their professional experiences linking OE with student well-being. Narrative analysis of the resulting transcripts of those conversations was conducted. Results included the identification of three key influences in OE (the curriculum, the instructor and students) linked with the promotion of student well-being. Emergent themes also demonstrated strong alignment with Deci & Ryan’s (2008) Self-Determination Theory (SDT) in that instructors intentionally sequence their OE pedagogy to address students’ psychological need for relatedness, competency and autonomy. Through the focus group discussions, an ideal OE structure was explored as well as methods for moving the present OE realities closer to this ideal. It is hoped that this study will serve to further the current dialogue related to the importance of OE and how to maximize its potential for enhancing student well-being in New Brunswick high schools.



SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education, INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS::Caring sciences::Social welfare/social pedagogics