This paper reports on a survey of South Australian secondary Schools conducted in 2000 regarding the nature and scope of outdoor education in South Australian secondary schools. The survey suggests that most secondary schools in South Australia offer outdoor education in the curriculum in one form or another. Perceived outcomes by teachers were largely in the personal and social development domain. Environmental outcomes, although perceived to be of reasonable importance, were largely not achieved through outdoor education in South Australia. The curriculum area has strong links to physical education in this state with most teachers having a background in physical education. Outdoor education was generally valued within the curriculum, but structural issues appeared to restrict the implementation of outdoor education to a greater extent. The survey generally indicates that outdoor education is a well established component of the curriculum of secondary schools.
Outdoor education has been part of the South Australian (SA) educational landscape since at least the 1960's (Pickett, 2000). Prior to the survey reported here, little formal data had been gathered regarding student participation, issues facing teachers and principals, and the perceived future of outdoor education within South Australian secondary schools. A survey of South Australian secondary schools was considered. At around the same time a survey instrument was developed by Lugg & Martin (2000) in 1999 to conduct a survey of outdoor education in the state of Victoria. The aims of the Lugg and Martin study were:... to attain a clearer understanding of who is teaching outdoor education, where it is being taught, what programs are being offered and what issues or problems are being encountered by outdoor education teachers or Principals in the implementation of outdoor education ... (p. 16)
In order to begin the process of gaining a national profile of outdoor education in schools, a modified version of the survey sent to all Victorian secondary schools by Lugg and Martin in 1999 (Lugg, Martin, & Nikolajuk, 1999; Lugg & Martin, 2000; Lugg, 2001) was used in the South Australian study by Pickett (2000). Where possible, questions in the Victorian study were replicated. Some modifications were made due to local differences and a decision to use a higher proportion of quantitative questions. The survey was sent to all outdoor education or physical education coordinators in SA secondary schools, and a modified survey was sent to all principals in SA secondary schools. The survey consisted of multiple choice and short answer questions. The response rate was 63% for coordinators and 49% for principals. The relatively high rate of return supports the author's assertion that the results obtained largely reflect the situation in SA secondary schools. This report will focus on the coordinators' responses as they are quite similar to the answers given by principals. As reports of the Lugg and Martin survey (Lugg et al., 1999; Lugg & Martin, 2000; Lugg, 2001) have been published some comparisons have been made with the South Australian data.
(i) Outdoor Education programs in South Australian secondary schools....