Educação e Pesquisa
Print version ISSN 1517-9702
KUNREUTHER, Flavio Theodor and FERRAZ, Osvaldo Luiz. Education outdoors through adventure: learning moral values in nature expeditions. Educ. Pesqui. [online]. 2012, vol.38, n.2, pp. 437-454. Epub Feb 14, 2012. ISSN 1517-9702. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-97022012005000007.
Open air education through courses organized as expeditions is still incipient in Brazil. We understand an expedition as a continued educational experience taking several days in which students and instructors venture into a remote natural area in a self-sufficient way. The present study analyzes courses of this type. Using interviews and semi-structured questionnaires, it investigates student's learning according to their own perceptions and to those of the educators, with an emphasis on the moral development of the individual. As part of the case study with a teenage student who took part in one of the courses, a psychologist who coordinates a shelter for minors was also interviewed. The results indicate that open air education courses are characterized by experiences that stimulate teamwork, debates about justice and solidarity, and reflections about values and principles such as courage, personal effort, discipline, respect, and the overcoming of limits. The results also indicate that this educational proposal yields experiences of the senses and of connection with nature. Although there is an educational potential for education outdoors, the action of the educator with the students is fundamental to produce physically and psychologically safe experiences that reach their pedagogical potential for the development of morality, and help people to develop environmental awareness manifested through the concrete actions of those who return from the courses to their communities of origin.
Keywords : Education and adventure; Moral development.