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Changing Horizon: Challenges to Outdoor Education in Europe Seminar of the Institute of outdoor adventure education and experiential learning (EOE) on the occasion of its 20th anniversary
Start date: Aug 1, 2015, End date: Jul 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In the last decades theories, methods, and particularly practical approaches of Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning have been established in youth work and education. The EOE (the European Institute of Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning) is celebrating its 20th anniversary. This indicates changes of an entire generation and it is a good reason to reflect the huge amount of experience with outdoor methods and concepts. In the centre of the project is the seminar which will take place at the ULSZ Rif/Salzburg Austria. It lasts from September 7th to 11th 2015. At least 50 experts of theory and practice in Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning from 11 countries will prepare inputs and come together to discuss four main issues: 1. Certification and regulation: In the context of professionalisation of (further) education, diploma, accreditations, MSc and so on are getting more and more important. Do certifications really improve the quality of work, reduce risks and enhance educational and therapeutic processes? Do they really fulfil what they are promising for the target groups? 2. Economization: The economic crises don´t stop in the face of education. The Pisa shock still leads to quick, unconscious and reflex reaction of the policy in order to “optimize” education. The focus changed from “Bildung” to learning outcomes. Education was made measurable - firstly regarding the competences of children, later on regarding the competences of teachers, hoping that both are substantially linked. Is evaluation the beginning of more transparency of working results, or the end of education, joy and happiness that are crucially linked to learning and emotional liveliness? 3. Didactization: Educational engagement starts with powerful ideas and visions, personal enthusiasm and a strong relationship to individuals we work with. Bringing those ideas forward, we reflect our work on learning theories and developmental concepts and try to make them applicable. With the focus on economization and professionalisation methods get more and more standardized and uniformed. So nothing can go wrong - except education and development?! 4. Consultancy: The more problems a society seems to have the more “assistance systems” are established to solve them. Division of labour and distribution of tasks lead to an over- coaching of people in many life circumstances. Is outdoor adventure education also following this trend embarrassing children in their experimental learning by educating them how to do this? The results will be distributed by seminar reports, networks and new protects. The seminar aims to bring together experts and practitioners to share theoretical knowledge and experience, and to discuss and exchange good practice, in order to develop innovatove and significant ways of working with young people in the outdoors. It is anticipated that this project will establish and develop new working relationships between promoters and participants with a view to developing future projects through ERASMUS+ and other relevant programmes. There will be 50 participants from around Europe, including Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The seminar program will be informal and experiential, and it will include theoretical inputs, workshops, practical sessions in the outdoors, and study visits. This will provide opportunity for practitioners to come together to develop and share good practice as well as with a view to putting the young people with whom they work in direct contact through future projects. Thanks to the broad scope of different cultures and nationalities, participants will have access to a wide variety of expertise within the workshops and practical sessions, which will provide innovative ways of tackling issues and will add real value to what is currently being delivered for young people. After the seminar, there will be a period of evaluation and dissemination of the results.
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