The Experiences and Understandings of Environmental, Outdoor, and Experiential Educators: A Narrative Inquiry Approach

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Tucker, Megan
Narrative , Outdoor Education , Environmental Education , Experiential Education , Place-Based Education , Qualitative , Narrative Inquiry
The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of an exceptional subset of environmental, outdoor, and experiential educators. This study sought to understand how and why their experiences were most significant for their understanding and relationships with nature and led to their lifelong commitment and development of a career in the field of environmental, outdoor, and experiential education. Participants of this study consisted of environmental, outdoor, and experiential educators within Canada. Data was collected through two sixty to ninety-minute semi-structured interviews. The data was analyzed using an inductive process according to the narrative analysis and analysis of narrative approach outlined by Polkinghorne (1995). A deductive approach was also used to apply the place-based education design principles (Sobel, 2008) to the study findings. The participant narratives have been re-storied to emphasize their experiences and perspectives that align with the overall study intent. Themes pertaining to each narrative have been identified, and represent the expressions, understanding and memories of participants in relation to the research questions. In the discussion section, key findings that emerged across all participant narratives are detailed in connection to the research questions, literature, and place-based education design principles (Sobel, 2008). There are implications and considerations for educators from this study, and this research adds to scholarship in the field of environmental, outdoor, and experiential education through the stories of seven exceptional educators.
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