Facilitating the challenge back into Adventure Challenge : the effects of facilitation of adventure-based learning experiences on elementary student’s social skills and intra-personal attitudes.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
Adventure Based Learning (ABL) is a physical education curriculum model that involves a series of sequenced challenges in order to promote interpersonal and intrapersonal change. ABL is a compulsory part of many physical education curricula (IBO, 2010) yet there are few resources and still less research available to support teachers to effectively create such experiences in elementary physical education. This study seeks to address this gap and investigates how my facilitation of adventure based learning affects inter-personal attitudes and intra-personal skills in elementary students. It also attempts to find the most effective facilitation strategies to elevate a lesson from a fun activity to a meaningful learning experience. A multiple-iteration, teacher-based action research methodology has been adopted to allow the practitioner-as-researcher to design an adventure-based learning program for grade 4/5 students, then conduct it, reflect on the successes and challenges encountered and make modifications for an additional round of investigation. Multiple data sources including student interviews, critical friend observations, group surveys and student and teacher reflection journals have been used to polyangulate the data. The thematic analysis found that intra-personal attitudes were difficult to plan for or measure and by contrast inter-personal skills were easier to plan for and were able to then be used to scaffold learning into more abstract concepts. Evidence from the first iteration of the research cycle indicated that the skill that needed the most attention was that of communication, which then became the design focus for the second round of data collection. Five key themes emerged in the findings and discussion including “Intra or Inter”, “Being heard’, “The elusive art of facilitation”, “Know thyself” and “Know your students”. From these themes it became clear that rather than following a fixed protocol, the key to success appeared to centre on the role of the facilitator in adapting to changing demands of student needs and other external factors. The teacher must also know how to balance a pragmatic approach with meaningful facilitation of student’s reflection while understanding the diversity of needs within their classroom.