Integrating outdoor education into physical education and health teaching: Three case studies

By Charles Hugo Maziade, Germain Thériault, Thomas Berryman, Tegwen Gadais

Introduction. Young people in Quebec do not do enough outdoor activity, despite the health benefits it brings. To address this issue, the Quebec Education Program recommends the practice of outdoor education, especially as part of the physical education (PE) and health curriculum. Despite this, PE teachers seldom integrate outdoor education into their yearly teaching programs. This study aims to identify the factors that promote or limit the use of outdoor education in PE, and also to identify what PE teachers need in order to improve its use, through a better understanding of current school practices. Methods. Three case studies were conducted with PE teachers selected with inclusion criteria. They participated in a semi-structured interview that was audio recorded and transcribed. Its content was then analyzed. Results. Implementing outdoor education in Quebec presents many challenges, but solutions do exist. PE teachers do not appear to have any measures by which they can identify learning progression linked to the curriculum. They also cite the lack of educational and support tools as being an issue. The links between outdoor education, health education, and environmental education should be specified and developed. Conclusion: This work has clarified the use of outdoor education in terms of its influences, and has specified the factors that help or hinder its implementation in schools. It has also offered avenues for reflection when it comes to increasing its use in the school environment, including looking at accessibility and cost.

  • outdoor education
  • physical education and health
  • case study
  • physical activity
  • youth
  • environmental education.
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