Australian outdoor (and) environmental education research: Senses of “place” in two constituencies
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2020, 23:16 by Noel Gough
© 2016, Outdoor Education Australia.
The Outdoor Council of Australia’s renaming of Australian Journal of Outdoor Education (AJOE) as Journal of Outdoor and Environmental Education (JOEE) follows deliberations among Australian and international stakeholders in outdoor education about the future of publishing in the field and raises a question about the relationships of outdoor and environmental education that Andrew Brookes (1989) voiced more than a decade ago: Is outdoor education environmental education re-invented, or environmental education reconceived? In crafting this essay my initial intention was to review the histories (and possible future trajectories) of changing relationships between outdoor and environmental education research in Australia by appraising manifestations of these relationships within two key (albeit overlapping) constituencies broadly represented by contributions to two Australian journals: AJOE and the Australian Journal of Environmental Education (AJEE). Brookes (1989) argued that the distinctiveness of outdoor education as a form of environmental education is derived from its physical and conceptual isolation from schooling. In the course of examining evidence for his proposition in research literature drawn from these two constituencies, I encountered an allegation that a “sense of place” seemed to be missing from Australian environmental education research. I dispute this allegation and argue that outdoor education’s physical and conceptual isolation from schooling is precisely what enables the cultivation of a “sense of place” in ways that distinguish it from other forms of environmental education. I conclude by reflecting on the implications of AJOE’s name change for cultivating this distinctive approach.