No.5. September 2011
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 University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
Looking forward (to the next twelve months)
What a big year 2011-12 is going to be. We have taken the bold move to re-format the MA Outdoor Education programme into a ‘blended learning’ approach combining a mixture of residential weekends and elearning/distance learning. This will be the only postgraduate Outdoor Education programme of its kind in the UK and should help to maintain Trinity at the forefront of Outdoor Education curriculum innovation for many years to come. In addition, we are expecting a demanding and, we hope, rewarding period of student expeditions as we bring the new Expeditions Studies module into year 2 (second semester) whilst continuing to support year 3 students as they undertake their expeditions in semester 1. Two lots of expeditions in one year will be a challenge, but we are ready and looking forward to it!
Three expeditions, open to all outdoor education students, are planned for the upcoming year. The first will once again see a spring ‘hot rock’ trip to Kalymnos in Greece under the expert leadership and tuition of Bill Beynon. Good luck to all those who sign up for the trip and judging from the stories and photographs of the last trip you are sure to enjoy an authentically Greek experience. Later in the summer, and also in the better weather (we hope), Graham Harvey and Andy Williams will be returning to the Scilly Isles for an introductory sea kayaking / camping expedition. Drawing upon the knowledge gained from their 2010 recconnaisance this promises to be a fantastic insight into the potential of exploring the history, culture, flora and fauna of this unique set of islands just off the south west tip of England. Not to be left out Geraint Forster and Graham Harvey will be leading a week long expedition to the French Alps as a staff reconnaissance of a mountain biking expedition proposed for summer 2012 and will need all their strength, skill and nerve as they tackle this most challenging and demanding of mountain bike venues.
The new BA programme continues to be bedded in and we are bracing ourselves for the demands of running over thirty student-led expeditions in one academic year. Graham and Roger have been working hard over the summer to ensure that the stores are prepared and able to support these demands whilst Bill Beynon has been heading up the expedition training and preparations required for the students to fulfil their expedition dreams, including organising an Expeditions Fayre to allow leaders a forum to advertise and recruit for their trips. Top marks to Bill, Graham and Roger for their efforts but don’t forget that it needs to be done again, in semester 2, for the second years as well.
List of student 5 day expeditions for 2011-12
Dan Watts – climbing on Gower
Emma Davies – mountain biking in Forest of Dean
Holly Curson – walking and surfing around Pembrokeshire Coast
Rhydian Evans – climbing in Snowdonia
Mark Rogers – bushcraft in Sussex forest
Martin Jones – Climbing in Peak District
Ed Abdel-Messih – walking in Pembrokeshire
Stuart Chrichton – Coasteering in West Wales
Stephen Arnold – climbing in Pembrokeshire
Chris Austin – climbing in Snowdonia
Paul Taylor – rafting in Mid-Wales
Rosie palmer – canoeing on river Teifi
At the postgraduate level Bill Krouwel and Andy Williams have worked tirelessly over the summer to re-shape the degree into a new ‘blended learning’ format structured around residential weekends and elearning/distance learning materials. Their grateful thanks go out to Kathryn James from the Information Services department who has guided them from neo-luddite to techno-wizards (well not really) in three short months. Kathryn continues to offer her support and expertise throughout the coming months and Bill and Andy are pleased to announce that they are now ahead of the game (and their colleagues) in their mastery and use of Moodle – the university wide virtual learning environment.
A final mention needs also to be made of another exciting new postgraduate development within the School. Many congratulations to Nalda Wainwright for successfully validating the new MA in Physical Education. This new degree will follow the ‘blended learning’ approach of the MA Outdoor Education and will share the Research Methods and Internship modules with the MA Outdoor Education degree helping to build a bring together a growing postgraduate research community within the School. Best wishes to Nalda and her programme team for 2012-13.
Extra Curricular Professional Development Opportunities
We are particularly proud of the expanding partnership arrangement that is developing with Urdd Gobaith Cymru a the Llyn Tegid site in Bala, Nth Wales.
No only will the MA programme be being delivered there as an outreach centre over the next few months but a new welsh medium version of the Sence of Place module (SHOE4005) is being piloted in October with first language welsh speakers from across the school. Under the expert leadership of Conway Davies and Geraint Forster this new initiative has the potential to be replicated throughout the four corners of Wales and across all HE courses who are seeking to explore the unique history and heritage of the Welsh landscape through an experiential outdoor education approach.
In addition, and as usual, a full programme of National Governing Body training and assessment courses has been organised for the upcoming year in order for students to further develop their outdoor skills and experience. These courses include rock climbing, mountain craft, coasteering, mountain biking, caving and gorge walking. In addition, our partnership with Llandysul Paddlers goes from strength to strength, and ensures we can offer the full range of canoeing and kayaking awards supported through the expertise of this regional Centre for Excellence in watersports
We are delighted on two counts this year. First to wish Dr Glenda Tinney all the very best as her pregnancy nears its full term. Glenda has been a fantastic contributor to both the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes with her particular interest in environmental and sustainable practice linked to outdoor education. We wish Glenda and her family well in the future and hope that she will be available to return as a guest speaker in the months and years to come.
Our second cause for celebration concerns the appointment of Graham Harvey as part of the academic and lecturing team for outdoor education. Drawing upon his undergraduate degree in Ecology and Outdoor Recreation Graham will be taking over Glenda’s teaching duties with immediate effect. For many years Graham has contributed above and beyond his outdoor facilitator role and it is fantastic news for the programme(s) and staff team to know that he will be more directly involved with contributing to the students’ learning and professional development in this and coming years.
Looking back (over the last twelve months)
Looking back on 2010/11 feels like looking into the mists of time – not because things are hazy in the memory or they were boring and uneventful, more that the speed with which events pass-by means that we need to keep our eyes fixed firmly on the here and now (as well as the tomorrow and next year) otherwise we will miss the new and exciting opportunities that are happening around us right now! Here are some of the highlights from the last twelve months….
Congratulations to all of our graduates of 2011 whose time has finished at Trinity Saint David and have moved on to other things. We are proud to have contributed to your success and we wish you well in the future. In particular good luck to the following: Rhys and Nat who have gone on to further develop their skills and knowledge with summer contracts at Llandysul Paddlers; Tomos has taken up a full time position as welsh medium instructor at the Llangranog site of Urdd Gobaith Cymru; Joel who is working in Switzerland with a community adventure group; Krista who is working in the family business of sea kayak trips on Jersey; Tommo who is part of the Duke of Edinburgh team delivering courses in South and West Wales, and Jonny who has cast his net further a-field and is travelling the world – last know whereabouts was New Zealand!
Kalymnos (Greece) - rock climbing (with Bill Beynon and Ceredig Emanuel).
For the second year running Bill led a trip to the Greek island of Kalymnos only this time he took the head of school with him along with a dozen students. Some superb single and multi – pitch climbing was had culminating in a big wall experience of 12 pitches over a whole days climbing (including dingy boat trip between islands and two hour walk in). A top time was had by all and the intention is to run the same trip again in 2012.
The Scilly Isles are located about 40 miles south-west of Cornwall and consist of a small archipelago of 8 main islands that are generally recognised as being one of the prime sea kayaking locations around the British Isles. Led by the combined talents of Bill Beynon and Graham Harvey a small staff group explored the potential of the islands as a future location for curriculum learning – and they weren’t disappointed. The combination of easy access, line of sight paddling, offshore camping, local history, abundant sea-life, archaeology and a warm welcome all wrapped up in the best weather of the summer was a sure-fire recipe for success. We will be going again (in 2012) and look forward to more fantastic paddling in the most amazing of locations.
Dave Gardner organised a ten day alpine trek - mountaineering crossing to raise awareness of breast cancer. The trip was supported a group of wives and friends with varying amounts of backpacking / camping experience and virtually no alpine walking experience and was led by Bill Beynon and Graham Harvey. Whilst it would be fair to say that it was a steep learning curve for all the ladies involved, not least in relation to eating / sleeping and early morning departures from alpine huts, it was an impressive effort by all involved, and has certainly shown that strength, courage and determination are no diminished with illness. Really well done to the ladies and a great effort on behalf of Dave, Bill and Graham to support the expedition.
More locally and at the other end of the technical hazards-risk continuum the indoor climbing wall has been the focus for introductory climbing activities with Scouts, Cubs and Brownie groups throughout the year. These community activities have provided a great opportunity for students to gain even more hands-on experience of managing groups and developing the inter-personal skills that underpin their broader development as outdoor professionals. Well done and thanks to all the students who have supported these local groups.
We also continue to work very closely with both the Youth Services department of Carmarthenshire County Council and Llandysul Paddlers. Both organisations offer tremendous opportunities for students to develop their group management, interpersonal and facilitation skills with groups as diverse as young offenders and youth at risk to stag groups and coaching weekends. The support of Huw Thomas (Senior Youth Officer) and Gareth Bryant (Llandysul Paddlers) continues to provide local professional development opportunities that make our students highly sought after and readily employed.
Last year we welcomed Geraint Forster to the University is his capacity as the Welsh Medium Teaching Fellow for Outdoor Education. Geraint has already proved himself to be an important addition to the team in his ability to support first language welsh medium students in their studies. In addition, and drawing upon his mountain bike expertise, he has also brought a new insight into the potential of mountain biking to engage and motivate students, as well as demonstrating how mountain biking lends itself to the broad spectrum of different learning and teaching styles that underpin top quality facilitation.
Seeking to further develop the strong and growing undergraduate exchange link with Telemark University College in Norway Andy Williams led a group of four colleagues (Nalda Wainwright, Alison Connaughton, Dave Gardner and Peter Herbert) across the North Sea for a three day research seminar. Located in the town of Bo, approximately 2hrs west of the capital Oslo, Trinity staff were accommodated in the Bo Hotel and Conference centre which is situated on the Bo campus. No only did this allow for easy access to and from the campus but it also allowed the Trinity staff to take advantage of the opportunity to sharpen their cross country skiing skills on the groomed trails that spread out from the campus grounds. Rumours that a new welsh cross country ski team were in town and preparing for the next Nordic championships were soon circulating, though it’s probably the Jamaicans and not the Norwegians who need to start worrying!
Focused on their shared interest in outdoor health, pedagogy and lifestyle, staff from both institutions presented papers on their personal research interests to an audience of international peers and colleagues. Representing Trinity Saint David were:
Dave Gardner – A Multi-environmental, Multi-dimension Approach to Exercise
Alison Connaughon – Motives and barriers to physical activity in type -2 diabetes.
Nalda Wainwright – An investigation into the interpretation and implementation of
the Foundation Phase in Wales.
Peter Herbert – High intensity exercise training for the older man: is it effective in comparison to other more conventional training programmes?
Andy Williams - The impact of solo camping experiences on student learning.
Broad agreement amongst the participants suggests that the seminar was a great success. In particular, it achieved its aim of further developing the partnership between Trinity Saint David and Telemark Universities as well as exploring new opportunities for future collaboration around our shared interests in outdoor health and lifestyles. The intention is to meet up again in the spring of 2013 when Trinity will play host to a return visit by staff from Telemark.
Other achievements of note include Bill Beynon’s involvement as a key contributor in the development of a new national award for coasteering and the recognition of Trinity Saint David as a provider of coasteering training and assessment in the future. This has taken a number of years to achieve and has involved a lot of time spent in meetings – not Bill’s favourite pastime but one for which we are all grateful and from which Trinity and the outdoor education students will benefit. Well done to Bill.
On the research front Bill Krouwel has once again been busy cultivating his strong relationship in Eastern Europe and presented a keynote paper at the annual conference of the Slovakian Assoc for Outdoor Learning (Slovakia, Nov 2010). In addition, he presented another paper at the European Association of Experiential Education Conference in (Slovenia, April 2011).
Closer to home Nalda Wainwright and Andy Williams presented a joint paper Camping on concrete: professional development for adventurous activities in Wales at the AIESEP conference in Limerick. This international conference provided a fascinating insight into the professional rivalries and interactions of many of the worlds leading physical education scholars and researchers. Focused around a small scale study into the impact of professional development training upon learning and teaching of adventurous activities in schools, their paper was well received and has been accepted into the conference proceedings. A second paper resulting form their interest in the relationship between curriculum based outdoor education and physical education is set to appear in the December edition of Horizons journal entitled Changing times for outdoor learning in Wales – outdoor learning cards, adventurous activities and physical education.
In addition, Nalda has also contributed a chapter from her second year module ‘From Desks to Dens’ to a new book An Introduction to Primary Physical Education London: Routledge, Griggs G (ed) in press. She has also written another article ‘Children’s Primary Physical Education in the United Kingdom- A post code lottery? that has been published in Primary Physical Education Matters vol. 6 no. 1 2011.
MA Students success
The MA Outdoor Education programme continues to go from strength to strength and our congratulations go to Matt Healy (MA OEd) for his unusual and groundbreaking research into Adventure Motorcycling: a narrative exploration of an emergent subculture in adventurous pursuits and Robert Fletcher (MA OEd) for his research into the hero cult that has grown around Scott of the Outdoors. Likewise, to Andrew Crofton for his dissertation An analysis of why outdoor education is used within the private school system of Toronto, Canada. Finally a special mention to Manjiri Latey (MA OEd) for her groundbreaking research into The significance and potential of outdoor pursuits for women in India. Congratulations to all of them.
It is also exciting to note the success of Marie Turke in gaining a postgraduate diploma in outdoor education. Very well done indeed.
This year we also welcome another 10 students onto the programme and look forward to their contribution as we continue to grow the international reputation of Trinity Saint David as a centre for excellence in outdoor education.
International Outdoor Pursuits Programme
For more than thirty years Trinity Saint David has offered visiting international students the chance to develop their outdoor skills as they get to know some of the more challenging, exciting, interesting and unusual corners of Wales. Graham Harvey is the Programme Director and reflects below on last years programme.
Having spent the best part of two years planning and organising the first Outdoor Education Summer School, it was a huge relief to welcome the eight Hobart William Smith students to Trinity in June. All eight were following very different programmes of study, from physiotherapy to anthropology. I find it both challenging and immensely rewarding working with international students who generally have limited outdoor experience but who bring a wealth of knowledge from their own fields and almost boundless enthusiasm. The three weeks were packed with adventurous activities, including a week in Snowdonia where we managed to maintain the international programme’s 100% record for having snow! We also pioneered a new angle on Coasteering with what we think might have been the first ever (planned) night-time session during a lunar eclipse. The students enjoyed themselves immensely and clearly learnt a lot about themselves and the outdoors Trinity style. The whole programme was a great success and we are looking forward to a larger group arriving next summer. Undoubtedly much of the success was down to a fantastic team effort from the whole department and most notably the huge amount of support from Sam Johnson (Outdoor education, year two, currently studying in Norway). Thanks Sam!
Huge congratulations go to Itamar Cohn (2006-9) who has become the first Trinity alumnus to be published in the internationally regarded and peer reviewed Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning (2011, 11, 1). His article Indigenous ways – fruits of our ancestors draws upon a range of ideas and experiences he shared with staff and peers whilst at Trinity. Likewise, Matt Healy (MA OEd) has also had is name in print with his article This isn’t PE: it’s not physical enough (Horizons 2010, 52). Also to Danny Towers (2008-2010) who has just been appointed to a lecturing position at Cumbria University.
The Outdoor Education Team
University of Wales Trinity Saint David