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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Moray House School of Education : Education

Postgraduate Course: Outdoor Environmental Education: Concept-based Practice (EDUA11117)

Course Outline
SchoolMoray House School of Education CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe concept of environmental education is undergoing change. Within public and policy discourse the term Learning for Sustainability (LfS) is gaining credence both nationally and internationally. Environmental education has traditionally been about the green environment with an implicit hope that learners will develop the skills and attitudes to enable them to make informed decisions about environmental issues.

LfS contains all of the content of environmental education but starts from the aim of people altering their behaviour to achieve sustainable living, e.g. living in a way that does not deplete non-renewable resources which will be needed by future generations. It acknowledges that people are the problem and the solution to most environmental problems and recognises that economic, political, social and cultural behaviour are significant elements in understanding sustainable living.

These developing ideas create exciting opportunities for outdoor educationalists. Because outdoor education depends to a large extent on direct experience of different environments, and multi-sensory approaches to learning, there are specific opportunities to engage in LfS that is residentially based because many such outcomes are not readily available through class-based education. However, research suggests that outdoor educators tend to define environmental education very narrowly focussing on, for example, avoiding trampling over rare plants, not disturbing birds, taking care to limit erosion at abseil sites, creating wildlife habitats and instructing pupils that litter can be harmful to wildlife. These differing definitions provide a starting point from which this course will explore the role of outdoor education in relation to values and attitudes. This will be done by looking at theoretical positions which transcend the belief that environmental education is simply about the 'green' environment. A central theme of the course is the relationship between human beings and the non-human world.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Food and linen.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  42
Course Start Semester 1
Course Start Date 18/09/2017
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 5, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 5, Fieldwork Hours 15, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 161 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) This course will be delivered in two sessions within 2-11 November 2014. Please refer to Tutor.
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formal ssessment will be in the form of a written assignment of 4000 words which covers LO 1-5. Informal assessment and feedforward points are maintained throughout the course where through self directed group work students develop lesson plans in groups and teach teach other in the sprit of Concept-Based Practice. This means that they need first to identify an environmental concept of their choice and develop an appropriate teaching practice to deliver the concept and be sufficiently aware that what their learners learned was related to what they taught. They also need to be able to identify why it is that the concept is better taught outdoors than in doors.

Course Specific Marking Criteria

1. Has the assumption been dealt with so that it provides a context in which the writer can agree with it or challenge it?
2. Does the critical assessment of the assumption link with the 3 tasks?
3. Have all 3 tasks been dealt with?
4. Is there integration between the 3 tasks?
5. Has Reason┐s 4-point epistemology been critically discussed (or is the use of an alternative epistemological position suitably argued)?
6. If the assignment is purely theoretical is this decision fully justified and is the role of practice made clear. Students pursuing this option should be clear with the course organiser what it is they are trying to achieve before writing.
7. Is the relationship between theory and practice clearly articulated so that any practice presented has theoretical origins and any theory presented has practical outcomes?

Feedback The course is delivered in mixed mode, with some taught components, group-based discussion activities, visiting speakers and site visits. The emphasis on the course is based on the unity of theory and practice. Course members contribute actively and are encouraged to apply their professional experience to the issues under consideration. The course content has been specifically designed with the assessment task in mind and vice versa. Feedback is continuously linked to teaching and learning and takes the form of me telling the students if I were writing the assignment myself then the course they are experiencing is the way I would address it. At regular periods in the taught phase I will refer to the assignment to illustrate how I had attempted to achieve this through my teaching practice. This then leads to a discussion of whether students believe I achieved what I had hoped to achieve which leads naturally into a discussion of how they might approach the assignment through their own concept-based teaching practice.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. explore a range of theoretical positions and their implications for environmental education and arrive at an individual ethic of environmental responsibility as a guiding principle for professional practice;
  2. understand the historical development of environmental education and the emergence of education for sustainable development;
  3. relate an ontological assumption with an epistemological position in order to formulate a programme of outdoor environmental education;
  4. understand the concept of environmental education from the perspective of different providers, and have explored a range of thematic approaches to environmental education and be able to draw on these in the compilation of a programme of outdoor environmental education;
  5. engage in experiential environmental education activities and operate as a member of a group to deliver a programme of outdoor environmental education to peers.
Reading List
Indicative Reading (* indicates prioritised reading and further readings are used as course material)

Bowers, C. A. (1993). Education, cultural myths and the ecological crisis. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Brennan, A. (1994). Environmental literacy and educational ideal. Environmental Values, 3(1), 3-16.
Brennan, A. (2010). Understanding environmental philosophy. Durham: Acumen.
Capra, F. (1996). The web of life. London: Harper Collins.
Fien, J. (ed). (1993). Environmental education: A pathway to sustainability. Victoria: Deakin University.
Gray, D., Coucci-Gray, L. & Camino, E (2009) Science, society and sustainability: Education and empowerment for an uncertain world. Oxon: Routledge.
Heron, J. (1996). Sacred science: Person-centred inquiry into the spiritual and the subtle. Hereford-shire: PCCS Books.
*Horwood, B. (1991). Tasting the berries: Deep ecology and experiential education. Journal of Experiential Education, 14(3), 23-26.
Huckle, J. & Sterling, S. (Eds). (1996). Education for sustainability. London: Earthscan.
International Union for the Conservation of Nature, United Nations Environment Programme and World Wildlife Fund. (1980). World conservation strategy. Switzerland: IUCN.
*Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2007). Fourth Assessment Report. Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Retrieved from http: //
Jackson, T. (2009). Prosperity without growth: Economics for a finite planet. London: Earthscan.
James, S. (2009). The presence of nature: a study in phenomenology and environmental philosophy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
*Jickling, B. & Spork, H. (1998). Education for the environment: a critique. Environmental Education Research, 4(3), 309-327.
Harding, S. (2009). Animate earth: Science, intuition and Gaia. Devon: Green Books.
Jonas, M. E. (2011) Dewey┐s Conception of Interest and its Significance for Teacher Education,
Educational Philosophy and Theory, 43:2, pp. 112┐129.
Kaplan, S. & Talbot, J. F. (1983). Psychological benefits of a wilderness experience. In I. Altman & J. F. Wohlwill (Eds). Behaviour and the environment. (pp.163-203).
Leopold, A. (1968). A sand county almanac. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Louv, R. (2005) Last Child in the Woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder (Chapel Hill, NC, Algonquin).
Marshall, P. (1995). Nature┐s web: Rethinking our place on earth. London: Cassell.
Naess, A. (1988). Self realization: An ecological approach to being in the world. In J. Seed, J. Macy, P. Fleming, & A. Naess. Thinking like a mountain. (pp.9-30). Philadelphia: New Society Publishers.
Naess, A. (1989). Ecology, community and lifestyle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
O┐Riordan, T. (1981). Environmentalism. London: Pion.
Orr, D. (1994). Earth in mind. Washington DC: Island Press.
Palmer, J. (1998). Environmental education in the 21st century: Theory, practice progress and promise. London: Routledge.
Pepper, D. (1986). The roots of modern environmentalism. London: Routledge.
Reid, D. (1995). Sustainable development. An introductory guide. London: Earthscan.
Reason, P. (2006) Choice and Quality in Action Research Practice. Journal of Management Inquiry, 15(2), 187-203.
Sessions, G (ed). Deep ecology for the 21st century. London: Shambhala.
*Smyth, J. (1995). Environment and education: a view of a changing scene. Environmental education research, 1(1), 3-19.
Stevenson, R. (2007). Schooling and environmental education: contradictions in purpose and practice. Environmental education research, 13(2), 139-153.
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. (1992) Earth Summit ┐92. London: The Regency Press.
Van Matre, S. (1990). Earth education: A new beginning. Greenville: Institute for Earth Education.
*Wals, A. (ed) (2007) Social Learning: towards a sustainable world. Netherlands: Wageningen. (free online at
*Wattchow, B. & Brown, M. (2011). A Pedagogy of place: Outdoor education for a changing world. Victoria: Monash University Publishing.

Main journals:
Ecos - A Review of Conservation
Environment Now
Environmental Education: Journal of the National Association of Environmental Education
Environmental Education Research
Environmental Ethics
Environmental Values
International Journal of Environmental Education and Information

World Wide Web

Atlas Leasing. (1990) Mindwalk. Blue Dolphin DVD.

Baylands. (1994) A sense of place: What is the appropriate relationship
Between humans and the whole living system? California: Baylands. 304.2 SEN.

ReRun Produkties. (1997) The call of the mountains: Arne Naess and the Deep Ecology Movement. Amsterdam: ReRun Produkties.

Harding, S. (2011) Animate Earth: Science, Intuition & Gaia.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information As described in the Feedback section above
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Robbie Nicol
Tel: (0131 6)50 9793
Course secretaryMrs Susan Scott
Tel: (0131 6)51 6573
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