Adventurous Learning

Marcus Baillie of AALS in full flow at one of Saturday’s Adventurous Learning workshops.


The morning was organised and run by Education Scotland and also included workshops by Outward Bound,  The Ocean Youth Trust and The Scout Association.  The plenary session kicked off with a talk and a video made by Zeki Busan for the John Muir Trust.   A very articulate and passionate young man who has been inspired to travel the world’s wild places and to use his experiences to help educate others. The video can be seen here.  It would have been great have know more about what inspired him and gave him the independence and confidence to do this? His schooling, extra-curricular adventurous activities, family?

The session was run by Natalie White, Education Scotland’s Outdoor Development Officer and themed as ‘Adventurous Learning’. It included lots of content to inspire teachers to be more adventurous in their teaching; be that in the local woods, playground, or even in the gym hall  or the classroom. Very much in the spirit of the recent Adventurous Learning from Simon Beames and Mike Brown.

For me though I would like to have seen more discussion and energy being focused on how we can make make high quality adventurous activities accessible to all. Is it lack of funding, lack of clarity about broader educational priorities, unjustified fear of risk – or just too much else going on? Marcus Baillie reiterated perfectly what we all already know about the benefit of the these activities on young people.  In particular his comments regarding  ‘Character’  (see pic above).

For me though, if we are to see outdoor learning in the playground with a class of infants  as ‘adventurous’,  then we need to ensure we have a way for these pupils to progress. To make this truly impactful we need to address the barriers that currently stop them going on to have the opportunity (and confidence and desire?) to participate in their Gold DofE expedition, a ski tour in the Cairngorms, a sea-kayak trip round the Bass Rock or go on an outdoor residential – before they leave school.

There was discussion about the new Progression Framework for Outdoor Learning from Education Scotland and I look forward to see how this can help us address these barriers.

One Reply to “Adventurous Learning”

  1. Thanks for this great blog post. Pleased that the event got your interest and highlighted some valuable practice that can take place in any establishment. We tried to get a mix of speakers and inputs and that seems to have been well received. I think your right we do need to offer pupils more opportunities to engage in quality adventure activities, funding definitely is a factor but starting to build capacity within staff teams will support this and so I think this is a good starting point…run BEL courses for teachers, support them to gain site specific qualifications in biking, climbing, bouldering. This helps create demand for more adventurous activity as pupils move along the progression pathways.

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