Weaving evidenced based positive psychology interventions into our Outdoor Education programs

Mr Shane Mcaloon1

1The Hutchins School

Education is a dynamic environment.  Full of promise and potential, with an equal dose of pressures and pitfalls.

Students and teachers of today need to navigate their way through this environment, with its ever increasing; focus on academic success, aversion to risk taking, fear of failure, and influence social media, causing rising levels of anxiety and depression.

Outdoor Education teachers know that spending time in the outdoors in engaging and meaningful ways can be an antidote to these ills, and there is a growing body of evidence to support this. There is also good evidence supporting the use of positive psychology interventions in education to combat the pressures of life.In a perfect world, every student in every school would have access to a stimulating, well-planned, and well-resourced Outdoor Education program across the course of their educational journey.

In a perfect world, every student in every school would participate in evidence based, well-resourced, and professionally delivered social and emotional learning programs. Alas, we don’t all live in a perfect world.We battle against crowded curriculums, time and budget constraints, and competition for priority within our schools. What if we could ‘super charge’ our antidote to the ills of our modern world?

Weaving evidenced based positive psychology interventions into our Outdoor Education programs can deliver a wealth of benefits for our students and add strength and increased relevance to our curriculums. More than ever, students need connection with the natural world and skills to deal with life.  Outdoor Education can deliver!


Shane is a lead teacher in the areas of wellbeing and positive psychology.  He has degrees in HPE and Wellbeing and recently attended courses at the University of California and the The Fifth World Congress on Positive Psychology in Canada. Following an enriching sabbatical, Shane has begun implementing many of his recent learnings into his teaching, and supporting others to do so.

About the Association

Outdoor Education Australia (OEA) was established in 2006 as a national network of outdoor education associations. The organisation facilitates communication between state and territory outdoor education associations about the practice and delivery of outdoor education; advocates for outdoor education across primary, secondary and tertiary education; and provides policy advice.

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