Connections - Newsletter
No.3. September 2008
Welcome to Connections - the newsletter that keeps you up to date with who and what is going on, up, down, under, over, onward and outward in Outdoor Education at Trinity College over the last twelve months.
As always we strive to improve the quality of the learning experience of our students by taking into account the dynamic and fast changing demands of the Outdoor industry. To this end Mrs. Nalda Wainwright (SHOE) have introduced two new modules to better prepare students for the workplace and future career opportunities. In particular, new modules (From Desks to Dens and Curriculum Adventure) related to curriculum teaching of outdoor education were well received by students in years 2 and 3. In year 1 the new socio – cultural focus of Sense of Place (Peeling back the layers) has likewise proved itself to be a valuable addition to the degree. Led by Mr. Conway Davies (SHOE) the module explores a multi-discipline approach to outdoor education grounded in observation, culture and connection. Finally, Mr. Bill Beynon is leading the delivery of a new professionally focused module (Outdoor Experiential Facilitation) designed to give students a range of tools and techniques (as well as the underpinning knowledge and theory) that are essential to working with individuals and groups outdoors.
In a further move to strengthen the sustainable environmental principles upon which our courses are built we are pleased to announce that all students and staff from outdoor education will be taking part in a clean-up day at one of the local venues we use. The students will decide which venue we will visit and will be responsible for the organisation and publicising of the event that is scheduled to take place on 15 May 2009.
We are delighted to welcome Mr Bill Krouwel (MA) to the teaching staff of the school and his specific role in supporting the delivery of the MA outdoor education programme. Bill has a wealth of outdoor facilitation and management experience and has worked with a huge range of different groups in all parts of the world. He is the author of two critically acclaimed books on outdoor management development and has spoken and presented papers at conferences throughout the world. We wish him well in his new role with the outdoor education team and look forward to working alongside him as we continue to look to the future.
Postgraduate Outdoor Education
Building upon the success of the last two years, the MA in Outdoor Education continues to grow and this year has recruited 19 students from as far a field as India, Canada and Germany. The diverse backgrounds of these students attests to the multi-dimensional appeal of outdoor education and the growing international reputation of Trinity College as a centre for excellence in outdoor pedagogy.
Students who have moved on to their dissertation studies this year include Sarah Gully (authentic adventure in a post-modern society), Stacey Long (a case study of outdoor education in a public services course in Wales) and Steve Lewis (outdoor management development). We wish them well in their studies and look forward to their graduations in summer 2009.
9th EOE Conference (European Institute for Outdoor Adventure Education and Experiential Learning)
Between 17th- 20th September 2008 Trinity College played host to over eighty delegates from 21 different countries who presented 35 workshops and papers around the theme Landscape, Youth and Outdoor Education: What are we doing? What should we be doing? This is the largest annual gathering of academics and practitioners interested in outdoor education in Europe and proved to be both stimulating and enjoyable. Staff from the School of Sport, Health and Outdoor Education helped organise the event which was lead by Dr Andy Williams (Centre for Outdoor Education Research) and Dr. Nichola Tucker-Welton (School of Education Studies & Social Inclusion). Key note speakers included Dr. Robbie Nicol from Edinburgh University, Eva Gruffud Jones (Chief Executive of Urdd Gobaith Cymru) and Dr. John Rose (head of Youth Strategy, WAG). In addition, the political importance of outdoor education in Wales was recognised by the presence of Jane Hutt (Welsh Assembly Member for Education, Children and Lifelong Learning).
Thought provoking presentations around pedagogy of place, social inclusion, sustainable environmental practice and sensory awareness of the landscape proved stimulating whilst visits to local venues including Llanstephan and Dinefwr, along with a nights dancing to a local Twmpath band (Welsh folk music & dance) ensured that there was a good mix of intellectual and social activites. Papers from Trinity staff included Conway Davies (Peeling Back the Layers: outdoor education and heritage as ‘sense of place’ in Wales), Dr. Glenda Tinney and Dr. Lousie Emanuel (Learners in the Landscape: an evaluation of landscape perceptions of outdoor education students in Wales) and Dr. Andy Williams (Solo Camping: structured or emergent learning experiences for young people). In addition, three postgraduate students drew upon their recent studies to present their first conference papers: Nicola Taylor (Action Research in Outdoor Education); Steve Lewis (Adventure Paradigm – a post-modern perspective) and Bryan Clubbe (Addressing the Cultural Barriers to Sustainability).We look forward to building upon the success of the conference in future years and to continue a close working relationship with the EOE and many of the individuals and organisations who attended at contributed so much.
We are delighted to welcome back Dr Nichola Tucker-Welton from her twelve month sabbatical with the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG). Dr. Tucker-Welton has been researching the role and provision of informal learning in Wales with a particular focus on outdoor education in the community. We look forward to reading her report and responding to the recommendations made as part of our continued drive to fulfil our Third Mission statement and to take outdoor education into the community.
On this same point of Third Mission activity Dr. Andy Williams has secured funding to attend the next international Outdoor Education Research Conference at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Building on his work with a local DADS group his paper will highlight many of the invisible barriers to participation faced by this under-represented and hard to reach social group as well as outlining more a more realistic set of outcomes to use as measures of success within the Widening Access agenda.
At the undergraduate level the highly successful Solo camping experience introduced into OE502 (Psychology of Adventure) continues to provide interesting insights into the technology – environment relationship that surrounds the modern day student learning experience of outdoor education. In particular, the dependency felt by many for technology (phones and watches) and the difficulties experienced when this technology was removed suggests we need to do more to support more basic approaches to living and working in/with the natural world. Likewise, the value of having time and space to reflect upon personal issues was noted by many as being unique and highly valuable and suggests we should be including more of this type of experience in the future.
Finally, in response to the growing Mental Health and Social Inclusion agendas we are planning to host a three day workshop in Spring 2009 exploring the process and potential of Adventure/Wilderness Therapy as an approach to behavioural and psychological dysfunction. This is potentially the biggest growth area for outdoor education related jobs in the next decade and is attracting increasing interest from politicians and social and health care professionals who are interested in the empowering, experiential and client-focused principles of outdoor education.
There have been two main overseas expeditions this year and both were college firsts: a winter skills and Nordic Adventure expedition based at Haukeliseter on the Telemark plateau in Southern Norway and a second expedition to warmer climbs on the sun-drenched rock of Sardinia.
Led by Mr. Bill Beynon (MIC) and supported by other members of the outdoor education team the first expedition explored the Telemark plateau in Southern Norway. Steeped in history and fantastic snow covered wild mountains we studied the snow pack, built snow holes for overnight use in temperatures of -25◦c, fell through ice lakes and used winter techniques to climb and descend a local mountain (at 1490 meters a full 300ft higher than anything we have in the UK). Venturing further to Rjuklan (the ice climbing capitol of northern Europe) where students were introduced to the adventurous vertical world of ice climbing. Due to the forecasted snow fall (another half meter on top of the two meters already fallen and temperatures of -25◦c) we collectively decided to change our venue and headed for lower regions and some excellent winter challenges in the steep mountains around the Fjords of Kinsarvik before returning by ferry to UK. In total 10 days of superb experiential learning where the students played a key role in the planning and decision making process that contributed to the overall success of the expedition. A big thanks go to Teresa Reynolds, Gemma Carolan, Jennifer Loney, Amy Durrant, Daniel Evans, Nathan Reardon, Geoffery Knight, James Freeman, William Kilgore, Dan Pollard and Itamar Cohn for making this an exceptional expedition.
Below are some of the comments made by the students
The Norway Expedition was fantastic on so many levels as I learnt a lot about myself, others and of course the stunning environment. Dan Pollard – year 3
The preparation and organisation before we left was substantial which we as a group only took in a small proportion of this. In saying that it was still hard work and made me think about my future in relation to my career and such expeditions. Although the organisation aspect was difficult and hard going at times, when we finally began our journey and exploration it taught me that it was very much worth it. Amy Durrant – year 3.
The days out themselves were fantastic and we were constantly reminded of the extreme environment we were in, whether this was numb fingers and toes, getting sunburnt at temperatures in the minus region or plunging into icy waters. This taught me how my body could cope not only physically but mentally also and it was interesting to see how others coped in the same situation. Itamar Cohn – year 3.
Overall the Norway Expedition was a complete success as a group and for me personally. Through the ups and downs I realised it only made me stronger, determined and confident for the future ahead. So roll on next year for which I hope another great Winter Exploration Expedition is in store!
Jenny Loney – year 2.
The trip reinforced my love of winter activities, helped give me more of a foundation for my future career path and broadened my technical knowledge. It was great to experience the cold and the difficulties that it brings. It was also fantastic to visit the Hydro plant, something that I've wanted to do for many years. I felt that the trip was a great success and was organized very. Daniel Evans – year 2.
Having retuned from expedition to Norway and having time to reflect on this I feel I have gained some invaluable experiences, which can without doubt be applied to academic development, but also several essential skills which I have acquired during this period are invaluable. Being involved right from the beginning in the planning stage, allowed me to sense the sheer amount of planning involved in such a great undertaking. At this stage I was able see group/expedition management employed, by staff, however I feel it was incredibly effective how delegating different aspects of the planning to different expedition members. The group was divided into subgroups who were then tasked to arrange amenities such as equipment, food etc. I feel this was really beneficial in terms of understanding what is actually involved in expedition planning; throughout the group I feel this was a consensus. Amy Durrant – year 3
Overall I truly enjoyed my experience in Norway and it has without doubt provided me with extremely worthwhile life skills which can be put in to use in the future during my chosen career path.
William Kilgore – year 2
The expedition that I went on to Norway was an amazing experience, and for me a once in a lifetime opportunity, which I could share with my closes friends here at Trinity. This experience has now enlightened me not just how to play in the snow safe, and how to dig snow hotels, but about the Norwegian culture and there way of life. I now have interest of going back to complete my tour of this amazing country and expanding my knowledge of this hidden world. James Freeman – year 2
Sardinian rock climbing
Our second expedition took us to warmer climbs – the sun drenched rock walls of Sardinia - another first for the college. Our hub for this rock climbing extravaganza was Cala Galone a small sea side port surrounded by a limestone escarpment on three sides and azure blue seas on the other. Offering a full range of moderate and extremely difficult climbs at a range of venues with overhanging sheltered caves, exposed multi-pitch slabs, beautiful beach climbs and remote rarely visited mountainous areas this is a real gem for rock enthusiasts.
Led by Mr. Bill Beynon (MIC) and Mr. Graham Harvey (MIAt) of the outdoor education team personalised coaching was provided in extreme heat and at height to all 12 students that went on the expedition and resulted in improved grades, knowledge and climbing fitness well beyond their initial expectations. This expedition was, however, much more than climbing and in the best Pedagogy of Place approach students were immersed in the Italia - Sardinian culture. The six days in country went far too quick for the students, however staff were now getting concerned about the size of their e-mail in-boxes and in-trays, after over three weeks of expeditions, and were not disappointed when their next expedition involved summiting the top of in-tray on their computer. Students who seized this opportunity were Daniel Melbourne, James Freeman, Robert Smith, Benjamin Coates, Daniel Evans, Andrew Booth, Robert Webster and Donnala Beasley-Fox. Below are some of the comments they made:
Sardinia was much more relaxed than Norway and felt much more like a holiday. It was great to mix with the first years as I had never really spoke to any of them before. It was great to experience sport climbing on such a huge scale and experience what is on offer around the world. The accommodation and transport arrangements were great. It was good that we could choose what we wanted to do each day. Daniel Evans – year 1.
The trip for me was a good way of pushing my technical grade without having to worry about placing my own gear. it offered me a different experience in a different country with better weather conditions than we get in Wales. It was a the first time I had climbed any sport routes so it was a change from all the top roping I have done before the course. If you run the course again I would definitely go again it was amazing. Dan Melbourne – year 1.
Sardinia for me has helped me to push my grade in climbing it has taught me a new way of climbing outdoors, via the sport routes. It has shown me that climbing doesn’t always have to be done in the rain here in Britain, but can be done, after casually getting out of bed, strolling to a café to have some breakfast and then setting off to the crag until the sun goes down, where the addiction to the limestone has been subdued by the evening light until another day where you can get your fix again. Robert Smith – year 1
One thing I learnt in Sardinia above all was to just relax and enjoy life. You only live once. James Freeman – year 2.
National Governing Body Awards and personal development
There were many National Governing bodies that our students took advantage of this academic year. These include: the single pitch rock climbing award (SPA), walking group leaders award (WGL), mountain leaders award (ML), local cave leaders award (LCLA) and new for us a RYA level 2 power boating and dinghy sailing award. In addition, and recognising the growing popularity of two new(ish) activies many students undertook site specific training in gorge walking and coasteering.
Plans for 2008 seek to extend the range and focus of our expeditions even further. Opportunities we will be offering include: a ten day wilderness canoeing expedition to Scotland, a Duke of Edinburgh Gold expedition to the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, a French rock expedition and more National Governing Body Awards and the personal support that we believe is essential to individual goal setting and success.
Bill Beynon (SHOE)
International Programme Outdoor Education Autumn 2007
What a fantastic start to my time at Trinity! The first semester of the international programme was blessed with perfect weather and the right conditions for each activity not to mention a band of willing and able students with a thirst for both knowledge and adventure.
The initial orientation and navigation sessions in the Brecon Beacons provided an excellent opportunity for the students from Netherlands, Germany, Spain and the USA to get to know each other whilst learning about the culture and landscape of Wales. Of course we also developed some of the fundamental outdoor skills that would be useful in the next three months: navigation, camp craft, emergency procedure and the importance of planning and preparing properly.
Given the relatively short time available to prepare for the first overnight backpacking trip along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, the students preformed well and enjoyed the tranquillity and beauty of wild camping on an isolated beach, shared only with seals and an array of sea birds.
The climbing sessions were very popular with the students really embracing the principle of challenge by choice. Each individual managed to push themselves in their own way, with significant support and camaraderie from the whole group. Both the students and I were very grateful for the technical assistance and support provided by Dan Evans and Will Killgore (BA OEd 1) throughout the climbing programme.
John Sparke also proved himself an excellent ambassador for the outdoor education department, leading a group backpacking through some harsh weather and tricky terrain in the Carneddau during an “awesome” week in the mountains of Snowdonia. Similarly, and not to be outdone, Helen Brooke (BA OEd 3) and Gemma Simms (ex BA OEd 2006) ensured the students had an excellent introduction to caving. This was quite a challenge as many of the international students had serious reservations about entering the cave; in fact nobody was particularly keen on the idea. However, thanks to some first class leadership and facilitation, the trip turned out be a highlight of the programme and provided the stimulus for some very reflective discussions and writing.
The students also enjoyed surf kayaking and coasteering in Pembrokeshire and canoeing on the Teifi. From their reflective journals and final review, it is very clear that each student has grown personally and enjoyed immensely the time they have spent at Trinity. Thank you very much to everyone who has supported the programme, both during the formal sessions and to those who have simply made the international students feel welcome here. Of course the students who have assisted with the programme have also benefited in terms of gaining valuable leadership and technical experience that will significantly contribute towards NGB logbooks. Next semester promises to bring a much larger group to Trinity, presenting more opportunities to work collaboratively in the outdoors.
Graham Harvey (SHOE)
International Programme Outdoor Education
Mountain biking – new developments
Located as we are between two National Parks and adjacent to Gower AONB we are fortunate to have excellent walking, climbing, river and sea kayaking/canoeing and caving right on our doorstep. To this we can now add mountain biking with an international standard course at Afan Argoed Country Park (20 miles away) and an even closer multi-standard, award-winning course recently opened in the Brechfa Forest (6 miles away). In order to maximise the learning potential of this fantastic new facility and to fully integrate it into all our courses we have invested in the purchase of 28 new mountain bikes, two trailers and all the supporting safety equipment at a cost of over £28,000! This significant investment recognises the crucial role that we think mountain biking will play (and already is playing) in the future development of outdoor education locally and nationally.
The new climbing wall has been a tremendous addition to the on-sight facilities of the College and now plays a vital role in the delivery of climbing skills to undergraduates and community programmes, as well as being an ideal winter training facility for the Students Union Outdoor Club and local climbers. In addition to the swimming pool it now means that all Outdoor Education students have the opportunity to develop their paddling/climbing skills on sight, for free and at their own convenience when the weather turns against them outside.
Goodbye to the graduates of 2008
In Connections 1 (2006) we were delighted to announce the success of three female students who all achieved First Class Honours degrees in Outdoor Education & Sports Studies. At the same time we challenged the incumbent second year men to match the women and to show that they too have the academic ability to succeed at the highest level. In Connections 2 (2007)we were delighted to recognise how the men had responded to that challenge with First Class Honours successes for Andrew Broderick and Richard Henton (Outdoor Education and Adventure Tourism). This year Connections 3 is equally thrilled to recognise out first Single Honours First Class Degree in Outdoor Education success achieved by Itamar Cohn. His success has been broadly acknowledged within the College and we wish him well in the future – he is currently working in Peru, South America, developing his interest in indigenous peoples approach to sustainable outdoor practice.
We also recognise the success of some of our other graduates who have moved on from Trinity to pursue new and exciting career opportunities: Ali Baxter (Barnardos Education Officer in Somerset); Amy Durrant (Instructor at Conway LEA Outdoor Centre); Bethan Hancock and Tom Fletcher (PGCE secondary course); Elizabeth Collier (Equine Management course); Helen Brooke (Instructor Birmingham LEA); Dan Pollard (Outreach officer with Cornwall LEA); Jenni Fraser and Jemma Moss (PGCE primary course) and Matt Thompson (Walking to Health officer Berkshire).
We also acknowledge the bravery, strength and positive attitude of Tim Pinnell who completed his studies at Trinity College with a Diploma of Higher Education in Outdoor Education. Tim’s studies were cruelly interrupted at the start of his third year with a life threatening illness and he was unable to complete his third year. All the outdoor education team and his fellow students wish him and his family the very best for the future. He contributed much to our lives over the last two years and he has much more to offer in the future as he recovers. Good luck Tim.
The Outdoor Education Team