From October 9th to 16th, Chadwick International School’s class of 2018 had its Outdoor Education trip to Hong Kong. Outdoor Education is the school’s unique program which gives age-appropriate experience and challenges to students outside of their comfort zones and in outdoor environments. Unlike the past two programs in grades 9 and 10 which allowed them to either kayak or hike in different places in Korea, this year’s program included a mix of the two activities in a foreign country.
Before students went onto the trip, they worried greatly because they had to complete nearly every task by themselves this year, giving them the chance to make group decisions. Many students showed concern for the rigorous hiking and kayaking plan, knowing that Outdoor Education is a physically demanding program from past experiences: most students described their past outdoor experiences as tiresome because of the kilometers of hiking and kayaking they needed to do each day. “My feet were covered with blisters towards the end of a day of hiking,” one student pointed out. “Hiking another 8 kilometers the next day seemed impossible.”
However, these concerns seemed to disappear as the students worked together with their group members. Some groups chose duties for each student, including cooking, dish cleaning, and navigating and changed them every day for fairness. When hiking, other groups respected their physically weaker friends and made them walk in the front to set the pace so that the hike wasn’t too demanding. As these examples show, the students learned to respect and cooperate with other students to avoid conflict and to make Outdoor Education enjoyable to all participants.
An interview was conducted with Luna Hwang, a student who participated in this program.
Q: In what area did you find Outdoor Education helpful?
A: Outdoor Education is an important program that gives me valuable experiences that I do not have a chance to get in my everyday life. Therefore, when I commit to this program, I gain more insight about myself and my surroundings and go through introspection. I feel like Outdoor Education gives me a broader perspective made narrower from continuous in-class studying.
Q: What was your greatest challenge, and how did you overcome it? What did you learn from it?
A: My greatest challenge was preventing my group members from getting into conflict. Outdoor
Education provided a harsh environment to all the students, causing the students to be touchy and vulnerable to conflict, including myself. At these moments, I took the role of an arbitrator and tried my best to stop these collisions. My group was able to stop these problems by correcting our misunderstandings as we discussed the aspects that harmed our feelings.
Q: In what way is Outdoor Education more beneficial than learning in a classroom?
A: All the things learnt in a classroom are secondary knowledge because they are from books, not from our own experiences. However, Outdoor Education differs by allowing us to gain knowledge solely from our experiences.
As shown in this interview, Outdoor Education is not a simple trip to the wilderness. It is another "classroom" that give students the chance to learn directly from their experiences, which is unique from learning only indoors. It is hoped that more programs as Outdoor Education are developed to give students a chance for introspection.
Yenah Jang, G11
Yenah Jang firstname.lastname@example.org
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