This is an excerpt from Teaching Lifetime Outdoor Pursuits by editors Jeff Steffen and Jim Stiehl.
To avoid unnecessary redundancy, the next few sections of this chapter address shared topics that cut across all outdoor pursuits, such as general risk management, trip planning, and Leave No Trace. The subsequent chapters then focus on particular types of outdoor pursuits, each following a similar format in order to provide ease of presentation and a basis of comparison among chapters. For example, how might safety considerations for rock climbing differ from those for mountain biking? Unit plans, lesson plans, and assessments for each chapter are included on the accompanying CD-ROM. A sample lesson plan is included at the end of this chapter.
Bear in mind that these chapters are not written for outdoor education teachers with extensive training and background experience in outdoor pursuits. Rather, they provide essential information for introducing a group of physical education students to new experiences in ways that maximize enjoyment and minimize risk. The following is the general format used for each outdoor pursuits chapter:
- Introduction. The introduction includes a general description of the activity and, when helpful, background information on its history or development. Benefits specific to that activity, such as the social aspects of certain orienteering activities or the cognitive challenge of solving a bouldering problem, might also be included.
- Equipment. After the activity is introduced, the basic equipment required is identified and explained. This should assist in determining the type and extent of resources required for the activity.
- Basic skills and technique. This section describes the agreed-upon educational goals and basic content suggestions for each activity. Popular teaching techniques and terminology unique to the activity may also be included.
- Safety considerations. Although a number of principles apply to all outdoor pursuits, specific activities might involve specific risks. In rock climbing, for example, complacency when tying into a harness may lead to an unwelcome and serious mishap. This section discusses these risks and how to manage them. Also included are recommendations for how to treat the outdoor environment responsibly when participating in the various physical activities.
- References and recommended readings. This book should be viewed as a springboard from which physical education teachers can enhance their effectiveness. Eventually many teachers will want to fine-tune their curriculum and look for new ways to teach it. The accompanying resources should serve as a starting point for obtaining additional information and support.
- Unit plans. To aid the reader, unit plans that match those on the CD-ROM are included at the end of each chapter.
In addition, each chapter provides Teaching Tips. These are hints and suggestions to help physical education teachers integrate a given outdoor pursuit into their programs.
Read more from Teaching Lifetime Outdoor Pursuits.