Exploring the value and limits of using outdoor adventure education in developing emotional intelligence during adolescence
Outdoor adventure education
Rites of passage
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AbstractThesis (PhD)--University of Pretoria, 2014.
Given today’s social milieu, there is no denying that the nature of the life experiences youth are facing has drastically changed in recent decades. In this study, outdoor adventure education (OAE) was explored as a possible intervention strategy for the development of emotional intelligence during adolescence. This research project consisted of a case study of an event, namely “The Journey”, which is a 23-day outdoor adventure education programme for Grade 10 learners at a private high school for boys in a major South African city. Through this research, which involved collecting, analysing and interpreting data on the topic, an endeavour was made to explore the possible impact of OAE on the development of emotional intelligence, as well as the sustainability of skills acquired, and also on possible design elements that may impact on the facilitation of the development of emotional intelligence. This study was based on a socio-constructivist paradigm, which had developed from an interpretivist world view. This research project represents a multi-method mode of inquiry: both quantitative and qualitative data-gathering techniques were implemented as a process of triangulation to provide a comprehensive analysis of the research problem. The research proper (76 participants) was preceded by a pilot study (28 participants). For the research proper, participants completed the Bar-On EQ-i: YV (Bar-On, 2007) questionnaire before embarking on “The Journey” (pre) and again at its completion (post1). This was followed by another post-test three months later (post2). Furthermore, 10 participants had also been randomly selected to form part of a pre- and post- “Journey” focus-group interview and to provide reflective essays post- “Journey”. Another focus-group interview with selected staff members was conducted post-“Journey”. The identified themes generated from the quantitative and qualitative data collected were as follows: emotional intelligence; outdoor adventure education; rites of passage; “Journey” design elements; boarding; the emotional climate of the school; division based on stereotypes; and sustainability of skills acquired. In terms of emotional intelligence as a theme, the results indicated that participation in “The Journey” not only results in an increase in the overall EQ skills of participants, but that the impact also appears to be sustainable.1 As far as the impact of “The Journey” on the various subskills of emotional intelligence is concerned, the findings revealed that there was an increase in all EQ subskills directly after participation (quantitative and qualitative data). However, the results of the research proper, where pre- and post2-“Journey” scores were compared (quantitative data), suggest that increases were maintained in only three of the five subskills mentioned, namely intrapersonal skills, adaptability and general mood. Thus it appears that the initial increase in interpersonal and stress management skills did not have a sustainable effect.
Opper, B 2013, Exploring the value and limits of using outdoor adventure education in developing emotional intelligence during adolescence, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd <http://hdl.handle.net/2263/40236>