Outdoor Education Development Essay

Pages: 7 (2222 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership

Outdoor Education

Developing an Appreciation for Nature

Teams form an essential part of the business world today. However, not all teams are made the same. Effective teams are an asset to the corporation, but ineffective teens represent a liability. Outdoor experiences such as Outward Bound International, offer teams the ability to grow trust, and their ability to co-operate through overcoming challenges in a wilderness setting. The outdoor experience took place through the observation of a local Outward Bound Program that was sponsored by the local business. This research is based on my observations conducted as an observer in the program.

Aims and Initial in Plan for the Teaching Session

The mini session that was observed was designed to create an environment where challenges could only be overcome through teamwork. In the process, overcome personal challenges in order to help meet team goals. The experience allowed to sub-is to gain an understanding of the values and actions that are necessary for both individual and group success. Team development came through the program gives team members information that they can apply to their jobs as soon as they return. They learn how to create a mutual environment where everyone can learn and grow.

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Many companies are experiencing changes that require them to rethink managerial style in the manner in which their company functions as a team. Change management can be a difficult time for the company as old habits are often difficult to break. The outdoor experience takes the participants a way from their usual setting and behavioral triggers. It is much more than just a vacation, as a place where they can restructure their thought processes and learn how to be more effective team members when they return home. The Outward Bound experience focuses on developing leadership skills given amongst team members who will not be in top leadership roles. The theory is that everyone needs to feel that their an important part of the team, regardless of their position in the company.

TOPIC: Essay on Outdoor Education Development Assignment

The goals of the program are to foster teamwork, trust, and communication skills. The program itinerary consisted of four days of wilderness adventures. The observation took place on day one. During this day, the team traveled to base camp in was presented a short orientation. Program goals and objectives were explained to the participants. The first day's activities included backpacking and canoeing. Canoeing involved maneuvering a two-man canoe through a short section of rapids. Both the front and back team members had to work together to navigate the rapids and achieve their task. The group consisted of 10 group members of the upper management team. The group was demographically diverse, with two women and three managers over the age of 55.

This program was only a short introduction to what would lie ahead. These activities were considered relatively easy to accomplish and were considered something with which most team members would have success. It did not require a high degree of emotional strength, nor do they have strong perception of danger attached to it. As teams performed, the task instructors were able to observe how they work together as a team so that they could have a better understanding of how the cultural organization affected these abilities. The key to this lesson was that all of the teams were expected to complete it without great difficulty.

Literature Review

Literature regarding outdoor experiences in the corporate setting focus on the development of psychological skills and benefits derived from the experience. An outdoor adventure is designed to increase feelings of self-efficacy, self-esteem, leadership, and improved morale. These represent the most important aspects of the outdoor experience. Literature regarding the experience will be drawn from academic journals that highlight the connection between the outdoor experience and the development of these factors.

Many of the studies found in the literature review were in a case-study format. While this study method allows the researcher to explore factors that go beyond the scope and methodology of the program and the experiences of the participants. However, it is often difficult to draw conclusions based on case studies. Quantitative studies provide the ability draw more accurate conclusions, but they do not allow the researcher to go beyond the scope of the research to gain more in-depth knowledge into the programs.

Team building in corporations depends on the ability to use all of its resources. Social capital is defined as the collective benefits and risks that are associated with each member of a group (Glover, Perry, & Shinew, 2005). Each member of the group "owns" a measured portion of the risks and benefits associated with an activity. The outdoor experience highlights the interdependence of the group members on each other. The element of realizing the shared benefits and risks is the key purpose behind the experience. Everyone has something to gain and something to lose.

Several elements can affect the ability of the program to achieve its goals. One of these is gender bias and gender roles, both in the office and in the program. A recent study found that males and females often have different experiences based on socialization (Delay & Dymnent, 2003). National culture can also affect the experiences of the participants in the program (Sibthorp, Paisley, & Hill, 2003; Kluge, 2005). Culturally-based biases can interfere with the ability to achieve program goals. Other factors, including age, also play a role in the ability of the program to achieve its goals. Older participants may have difficulty performing the tasks and keeping up with younger members of the team (Orsega-Smith, Getchell, Neeld, & MacKenzie, 2008).

Many of the studies found during the literature review that examined the effectiveness of the outdoor experience in promoting change among team members took place in the mid-late 1990s, which makes it too old to be considered valid for this study., Few recent studies were found that examined the efficacy of the outdoor experience in achieving their goals. This may be due the general acceptance of the outdoor experience in the corporate world. The outdoor experience is now considered a standard training tool in many companies and the number of programs continues to grow.

The literature review revealed several factors that were observed in the Outward Bound experience. For instance, it was found that gender affected the views of the participants regarding the experience. It was observed that on day 1 of the program women never took the initiative and went first in the activities. They tended to lag behind strong male members of the group. None of he older participants had difficulty participating on the first day of the adventure, but it is not known how they fared as the challenges became more difficult in the other days of the program.

New Plan

Based on the information found during the literature review and my own observations, the several adaptations could be made to improve the program. Outward Bound is one of the oldest programs of its kind and much research has gone into its development. It was found to be a quality program that generally meets the goals and expectations of its clientele. One of the key observations during the study period was that extreme differences exist between male and female participants.

The goal of the program was to foster team building in the group and to improve the confidence of all group members. However, it appeared that gender dynamics in the group tended to reflect stereotypical behaviors in the group. Teams carry what they learned in the outdoor experience back to the work setting. Gender, cultural, and age biases need to be eliminated during the outdoor experience, so that when the team goes home, they will be functioning as leaders and able to take on their portion of the benefits and risks.

In order to accomplish the goal of eliminating potential gender bias from the program, instructors need to be made aware of the potential for this factor. During the observation period, the instructor seemed unaware, or unconcerned about the group dynamics that were already beginning to develop in the group. The leader needed to focus more attention on the women in the group, perhaps making them group leaders, or asking them questions and encouraging them to participate in the program, This element and awareness needs to be included instructor training.

Day one included only one activity where group members were divided into teams of two. In order to make certain that team members had the opportunity to become familiar with different styles of problem solving, the instructor could have required the students to make the trip several different times with different team members.

In addition, the canoe trip could have been made more challenging by the addition of a goal or task that the team had to complete, other than simply making it through the mild rapids. For instance, they could have had to make it through when carrying something on the front of the boat and trying to keep it from falling out. Another idea is that… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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