Outdoor Education Blog

Learning Beyond the Walls

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Why Philosophy in Education

As I sit in the airport in Budapest, awaiting my flight back to Canada, I'm thinking about the real need for philosophy education. My time in Budapest brought this issue into focus for me after attending an international Peace in Education conference that Martha presented at. Another factor was our visit to the Terror Museum at 60 Andressy St in Budapest, once home to the notorious police who iron-fistedly put terror into the hearts of Hungarians in the name of communism after WWII.
In both instances the need for a humane education system was brought up. How can we create communities of caring, humane individuals if we don't spend time discussing why w we should pursue one course of action or another.
When I was a teacher in Ontario, I often took my students outside of school for a variety of reasons. My teacher friends would often quip, "Where are you heading off to this week Todd?"
The truth is they saw little need for such excursions, regardless of the educational potential. The need to discuss philosophical issues between and with high school students has never been more readily apparent. As the election in the US takes place on Tuesday next week, questions about the nature of democracy are sure to be discussed in classrooms around the country.
But deeper more personal questions and questioning by students is more often stifled by an education system that sees the only valuable time as classroom time.
Philosophy Education in Ontario is a curriculum based course, and outdoor experiences are one of the best ways to create a safe place for students to consider the deeper, more personal issues.
Learn more at ExpEd.ca

Sunday, October 24, 2004

A Philosophy Retreat

I'm looking forward to a late fall philosophy retreat with a group of grade 12 students. Back when I was a teacher in school, I gained a reputation for finding excuses to take my students on outdoor education excursions. Very often, our outings gave students opportunities to reflect on who they were and what they really, really, really wanted to do with their lives.
Often returning from our outdoor education experiences, my collegues may wonder what we were doing while my students missed his/her class.
I distinctly recall one teacher reminding me, "Todd, you know these kids are going to university next year don't you? They need to be prepared."
Indeed, thankfully, I know of know better experience than taking our young people out of the school system to walk in the world, often nature, and reflect on who they are and how they wish to contribute to make the world a better place.
As a guide on these journeys, I can think of no more important role to play than that of a tour guide helping students on these outdoor education learning experiences discover who they truly are.
Learn more at ExpEd.ca

Friday, October 08, 2004

School Canoe Trips - Fall in Algonquin Park

We're piling up leaves around the canoes after our final school canoe trip of the year. The gang at Holy Names H.S. in Windsor Ontario had a fabulous time and enjoyed outstanding scenery and great weather in Algonquin Park traveling with educators. Students learned a bit about leadership, their peers and nature on this annual school canoe trip.

Mr Brunet and his class have been making annual visits to the Edge since the late 1990's. His students return from Algonquin Park to school full of energy and enthusiasm ensuring that next year's class is full and has a waiting list. Students heading into 11th grade at this school know to put the Outdoor Activities leadership course on the top of their option sheets.

I look forward to posting more pictures here soon.
Learn more at ExpEd.ca