• Sights and insights: Vocational outdoor students’ learning

      Hickman, Mark; Stokes, Peter; University of Central Lancashire; University of Chester (Outdoor Council of Australia, 2016-02-18)
      Outdoor leader and adventure sport education in the United Kingdom has been characterized by an over-emphasis on technical skills at the expense of equally important, but often marginalized intra- and inter-personal skills necessary for contemporary outdoor employment. This study examined the lived experience of vocational outdoor students in order, firstly, to identify what was learned about the workplace through using reflective practice and, secondly, what was learned about reflective practice through this experience. The study used a purposive sample of students (n=15) who were invited to maintain reflective journals during summer work experience, and this was followed up with semi-structured interviews. Manual Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) revealed that in the workplace setting students used reflective practice to understand and develop technical proficiency, support awareness of the value of theory, and acted as a platform to express emergent concepts of ‘professionalism’. Lessons about reflective practice emphasized its value in social settings, acknowledging different ways of reflection, and understanding and managing professional life beyond graduation.