Re/considering outdoor education as environmental pedagogy: Challenges of living with/in/through curricula development

Dr Alistair Stewart1

1La Trobe University

During the past 15 years a number of researchers in outdoor environmental education have questioned previously taken-for-granted universalist approaches and emphasised the significance of specific contexts and locations of practice. Complementary developments in outdoor education research have addressed the role of place in outdoor environmental education pedagogy and curriculum.

In this paper I re/consider the interrelated concepts, contexts and complex conversations (with colleagues, students and others) that have shaped my approach to curriculum, pedagogy and research during the past 15 years. I utilise a curriculum autobiography method, rhizocurrere, to chart my attempts to develop and promote Australian outdoor environmental education practices that are inclusive of, and responsive to, the places in which they are performed. This paper emphasises the complexity of developing curricula that engage, in a respectful and generative way, with the natural and cultural history of the Australian continent. The paper explores some of the challenges of attempting to think (and teach) differently about Australian outdoor pedagogy as environmental education.


Dr. Alistair Stewart is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Outdoor and Environmental Education, La Trobe University, Bendigo, Australia. His research interests include poststructuralist curriculum inquiry, and place-responsive pedagogy, with particular reference to natural and cultural history.

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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