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Seminar in Outdoor Pursuits and Adventure Education UW-La Crosse ESS 777 Fall, 2007 Instructor: Jeff Steffen.

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Presentation on theme: "Seminar in Outdoor Pursuits and Adventure Education UW-La Crosse ESS 777 Fall, 2007 Instructor: Jeff Steffen."— Presentation transcript:

1 Seminar in Outdoor Pursuits and Adventure Education UW-La Crosse ESS 777 Fall, 2007 Instructor: Jeff Steffen

2 Need for Research for Gender Issues and Adventure Education Adventure Education is predominately seen as a male dominated activity More females are interested in outdoor pursuits than ever before Self concepts and self images of boys and girls can be increased by being active in an outdoor education program (Gray, T., 1997) Much research has ignored differences between male and females in adventure education and outdoor pursuits (Culp, R.H., 1998)

3 Overview of Girls and Adventure Education Differences between masculinity and femininity rarely researched (Culp, R.H., 1998) Increased trend to find research based studies on girls/women in outdoor pursuits than men (Gray, T ) More opportunity and choices for girls to participate in outdoor adventure activities, should continue to increase (Henderson and Hickerson, 2007) Outdoor Education gives girls opportunity to participate in male dominated area Girls see a world that is obsessed with relationships rather than of people standing alone (Porter, T., 1996)

4 Key Definitions in Adventure/Outdoor Education and Gender What is Outdoor Education? a means of approaching educational objectives through guided direct experience in the environment, using its resources as learning materials (Humberstone, B., 1990) What is Gender? Sexual identity, especially in relation to society or culture What are Gender Roles? Social construction of gender in relation to behavior and identity. What it means to be masculine or feminine (Culp, R.H., 1998) Single-Sex Groups: Involving either an all male group or all female group, separated Mixed-Sex Groups: Involving both male and female counterparts working with one another in a group setting

5 The Power of Gender in Adventure Education and Outdoor Pursuits Gender Issues in Outdoor Education 1.Single Sex Groups versus Mixed Sex Groups? Why Separate Boys and Girls? 2.Social Change and Girls 3.Benefits of Outdoor Adventure Pursuits and Girls and Women Self-Concepts and Self-Esteem

6 Single Sex Groups versus Mixed Sex Groups? Why Separate Boys and Girls? year olds have a pre-conceived idea of what their abilities and worth are (Baker-Graham, A. 1999) Girl Single-Sex Groups Often encourages support, admiration, and camaraderie (Baker-Graham, A., 1998) When separated, girls dont have roles to follow or conform by (Baker-Graham, A., 1998) Opportunity for discovery and motivation (Baker-Graham, A., 1998) Tend to be more supportive and less critical of each other (Baker-Graham, A., 1998) Females achieve better gain scores compared to males ( Gray, T., 1997) Increased Self-Esteem and Self-Concepts Boy and Girl Mixed Sex Groups Stereotypes come about (Baker-Graham, A., 1998) Girls may feel inferior Boys do see their emotional side and recognize girls abilities, girls gain self confidence and see sensitive side of boys (Baker-Graham, A., 1998)

7 Advantages and Disadvantages of Single-Sex Groups Advantages of Single-Sex Groups: 1.May increase confidence, leadership roles, and self awareness (Berger and Vollbracht, 1997) 2.Themes of the programs may be designed differently to accommodate to male/female personalities, etc. 3.Girls/women are more encouraging towards mutual support, admiration, and camaraderie (Baker-Graham, A., 1998) 4.Girls/women feel more safe and may be able to express emotions better (Baker-Graham, A.., 1998) Disadvantages of Single-Sex Groups: 1.Girls and boys are unable to work cooperatively and interact with male counterparts. 2.Genders can be influential to each other, separating the two will not accommodate interaction

8 Advantages and Disadvantages of Mixed-Sex Groups Advantages of Mixed-Sex Groups: 1.Both sexes are encouraging toward each other, while still enjoying the experience as a mixed group (Berger and Vollbracht, 1997) 2.Boys see their emotional side, at the same time recognize the girls abilities (Baker-Graham, A., 1998) 3.Girls do gain self confidence and see a different side of the boys (Baker-Graham, A., 1998) Disadvantages of Mixed-Sex Groups: 1.Girls may tend to group themselves together (Berger and Vollbracht, 1997) 2.Females tend to be more supportive than males, and males tend to be more competitive (Berger and Vollbracht, 1997) 3.Females may find their abilities undermined and may not try certain activities because males are present (Humberstone, B., 1990)

9 Social Change and Girls Girls Initial Reactions to Outdoor Adventure Education Outdoor activities has created more fear in females compared to males (Culp, R.H., 1998) Girls seemed to hold back more in physical activity which was related to fear of trying the activity (Henderson and Hickerson, 2007) Hesitant and have a less competent persona and feel as if they are not physically and emotionally ready to participate in risky activities (Humberstone, B., n.d.) Reluctant to participate (Gray, T., 1997)

10 Social change and Girls…from beginning to end (continued) 1.Choices of activities, for girls and women, can be influenced by athleticism or non- athletic features, physical appearance, and their desire to have fun and belong to a group. (Henderson and Hickerson, 2007) 2.Girls can also be embarrassed to try activities because they may have low perceptions of themselves. (Henderson and Hickerson, 2007) 3.Some women see leisure as a way to oppose activities which are considered stereotypical and dominant by gender (Henderson and Hickerson, 2007) 4.If women assume a leadership style which is more masculine, they tend to be evaluated negatively by others in the group (Wittmer, C.R., 2001) 5.Leaders of a group tend to be evaluated on: gender, race, sexual orientation, physical appearance, level of experience, and social class (Wittmer, C.R, 2001) 6.Social support is important (Henderson and Hickerson, 2007) 7.For girls, outdoor education provides personal development and they receive positive outcomes (Baker-Graham, A., 1999) 8. Most important personal consequence of participating in a program = 70% indicated that it increased my pride in women generally (Wittmer, C.R., 2001)

11 Benefits of Outdoor Adventure Pursuits and Girls and Women Self Esteem and Self Concepts Self Concepts and Self Images can be enhanced through participation in outdoor recreation activities (Gray, T., 1997) Outdoor activities boosts Self-Concepts and Self-Esteem Outdoor activities help to increase a variety of personal, social, and therapeutic benefits (Gray, T., 1997) Self Esteem and Self Concepts can be increased when girls and women are involved in outdoor activities because they often talk about characteristics/personalities of themselves they never knew existed (Pohl, Borrie, and Patterson, 2000) Women/girls learn more about themselves and overcome self-doubt (Neill, J.T., 1997) Females can have independence from others in an outdoor adventure setting and this can increase their self-trust and self-worth (Pohl, Borrie, and Patterson, 2000)

12 How to Reach Women Through Leisure 1.Many girls/women are interested in male dominated activities 2.They desire variety 3.Quality of experience needs to be considered 4.Consider health issues 5.Social support is important 6.Encouragement and promotion needed (Henderson and Hickerson, 2007, p. 28)

13 Recommendations In Adventure Education classes, it is important to have many opportunities available to students: Allowing a time for a mixed-sex group setting is ideal for males and females alike. It allows them to participate together and learn from one another. It is also important to allow time for single-sex groups to take place. Allowing students to learn and interact with others of the same sex, may increase their self-esteem and self-concepts. They may also feel less intimidated to try new activities.

14 References Baker-Graham, A. (1999). Work with girls and young women. Outdoor Education and Experiential Learning in the U.K. p Berger C., Vollbracht, C. (1997). Women in the wilderness: them-based outdoor programming at the university of florida. In: Back to the Basics: Proceedings of the International Conference on Outdoor Recreation and Education. p Culp, R.H. (1998). Adolescent girls and outdoor recreation: a case study examining constraints and effective programming. Journal of Leisure Research. 30(3). Gray, T. (1997). Examining the fruits of the outdoor education tree from a gender perspective. In: Deeply Rooted, Branching Out p Henderson K.A., Hickerson B. (2007). Research update: women and recreation opportunities. Parks and Recreation. p Humberstone, B., (1990). Gender, change and adventure education. Gender & Education, 2 (2) Humberstone, B. (n.d.) Girls concepts of themselves and their experiences in outdoor education programmes. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Hurtes, K.P., (2002). Social dependency: the impact of adolescent female culture. Leisure Sciences, 24, p Miranda W., Yerkes. R. (1987). Womens outdoor adventure programming. High Adventure Outdoor Pursuits (Organization and Leadership) 2nd edition. p Neill, James T. (1997). Gender: How does it effect the outdoor education experience? In Catalysts for Change: Proceedings of the 10 th National Outdoor Education Conference. Sydney: The Outdoor Professionals (pp ) Pohl S.L., Borrie, W.T., Patterson, M.E. (2000). Women, wilderness, and everyday life: a documentation of the connection between wilderness recreation and womens everyday lives. Journal of Leisure Research, 32(4), p. 415, 20 pgs. Leadership, 8(3), Porter, T. (1996). Connecting with courage, an outward bound program for adolescent girls. Womens Voices in Experiential Education. p Wittmer, C.R. (2001). Leadership and gender-role congruency: a guide for wilderness and outdoor practitioners. The Journal of Experiential Education. 24 (3) pp


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