Contested perspectives on the social impacts of a residential fieldtrip

Gee, N. (2019) Contested perspectives on the social impacts of a residential fieldtrip. Journal of Experiential Education, 42 (4). pp. 321-335. ISSN 2169-009X

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Background: Research into outdoor learning reveals social benefits for trip participants, both individually and collectively. However, this is not universal and individual participants can experience increased isolation from the wider group. Purpose: This research investigated the underexplored negative experiences of an individual trip participant, in the context of a program promoting collectivist beliefs. Methodology/Approach: An ethnographic methodology was adopted, to include full immersion into all aspects of the week-long trip. Data were collected by observation and interviews and analyzed using a conceptual framework around individualism and collectivism. Findings/Conclusions: The teachers perceived the trip as successful, in meeting their collectivist goal of enhancing group cohesion, and data revealed the building of community feelings amongst the majority of participants, alongside feelings of belonging, togetherness and mutual support. However, one participant exhibited contrasting individualist perceptions and experiences around interpretations of freedom, privacy, adversity and cohesion. Implications: Trip leaders need to be mindful of participants as individuals, taking care not to seek nor project a blanket group identity over all. Within the confines of health and safety and duty of care boundaries, and commensurate with the age range of trip participants, accompanying teachers should understand and respect individual needs within collectivist group socialization agendas.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 Sage. This is an author-produced version of a paper subsequently published in Journal of Experiential Education. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: Outdoor education, social learning, individualism, collectivism, ethnography
Divisions: School of Teacher Development
Depositing User: Dr Nick Gee
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2019 14:53
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2021 09:36

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