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Introducing a critical socio-ecological approach for educating outdoors


Hill, A, Introducing a critical socio-ecological approach for educating outdoors, Outdoor Education in Aotearoa New Zealand, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, D Irwin, J Straker and A Hill (ed), New Zealand, pp. 46-64. ISBN 9780908668120 (2012) [Research Book Chapter]

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Copyright 2012 CPIT

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Outdoor education has a rich history in Aotearoa New Zealand which has been influenced by multiple discourses and sets of ideas, as detailed in the previous chapter. However, in the last decade dominant traditions which have underpinned outdoor education pedagogy, both locally and internationally, have undergone increased critical scrutiny. In many ways this scrutiny has placed outdoor education theory and practice in a contested space, where there is no longer a single way of engaging students in outdoor environments or a specific package of content, knowledge and skills. This contestation and scrutiny leaves outdoor education pedagogy in need of a new reenvisioned theoretical foundation; a framework which recognises and embraces diverse approaches to education and meets the changing needs of individuals, communities, societies, ecosystems, and environments in the twenty-first century. A critical socio-ecological approach provides a theoretical framework which can meet those needs through articulating a broader, richer, and transformative vision for outdoor education.

This chapter outlines the basis for a critical socio-ecological approach and makes some brief generalised suggestions as to how such a framework might apply to outdoor education thinking and practice. It does not provide a recipe or 'how to' manual for a new or alternative approach to outdoor education. How a socio-ecological approach is applied to diverse educational settings is both a contextual and personalised process. Essentially it will look different in different places, but may share similar values, principles, or pedagogies. Some of the diverse ways that socio-ecological approaches have been applied in outdoor learning contexts are discussed in the following chapters of this book. Tills chapter will be structured in the following way: First, it will outline what theoretical frameworks are and how they can be of use to educators. Second, it will detail the various aspects of a critical socio-ecological approach with emphasis on its sociological, ecological roots. 'Third, it summarises the variety of theories that are both essential and relevant to a socio-ecological framework. Fourth, it draws links between outdoor education and a socio-ecological approach.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Curriculum and pedagogy not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Teacher and instructor development
UTAS Author:Hill, A (Dr Allen Hill)
ID Code:77726
Year Published:2012
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2012-05-22
Last Modified:2016-10-25

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