Exploring Outdoor Leaders' Cross-cultural Experiences in the Wilderness Education Setting

Exploring Outdoor Leaders' Cross-cultural Experiences in the Wilderness Education Setting

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In the past few decades, outdoor education programs of all kinds have been reaching out to a wider audience; but interestingly, today most outdoor pursuits are still dominated by white Americans. One way to promote diversity in wilderness education and increase outdoor leaders' effectiveness with minority students is through examination of the crosscultural experiences, from outdoor leaders' perspectives, in the wilderness setting. This study interviewed twelve outdoor leaders from various programs and explored and described their perceptions, attitudes, and personal meanings towards cross-cultural wilderness experiences. Bennett's theory of the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensibility (DMIS) was used to better understand how outdoor leaders conceptualize their cross-cultural experiences. In addition, there was an examination of outdoor leaders' views on the factors that facilitate or limit minority students' success in a wilderness course. Data were collected using semi-structured, in-depth interviews and the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). All interviews were transcribed into textual data and coded in a fashion which allowed themes and patterns to emerge. This process was aided by using a computer program called QSR NVivo. A total of twenty-five themes were generated and organized into eight categories: cultural competence, reactions to cross-cultural wilderness experiences, issues in cross-cultural wilderness experiences, factors that facilitated success, factors that limited success, underparticipation, recruitment strategies, and training. The findings provide a profile of the intercultural sensitivity for the outdoor leaders and also give us some idea of what happens in a cross-cultural wilderness course. More importantly, issues and challenges that are unique to these cross-cultural situations are identified. The results also show the factors that can affect the quality of wilderness experience for minority students. Effective strategies for the recruitment and retention of a diverse student body in wilderness educational programs are needed in order for outdoor educators to effectively meet the different needs of a diverse clientele. Further, the implications for the advancement of theory and practice are offered, along with reflections on the limitations. Finally, this study is concluded with directions for future research.These recruitment strategies are in accordance with Phillipsa#39; (1970) recommendations on how to prevent a high dropout rate by inner city kids in Outward Bound courses. He notes that minority role models, pre-expedition outdoor trips, andanbsp;...

Title:Exploring Outdoor Leaders' Cross-cultural Experiences in the Wilderness Education Setting
Author:Guan-Jang Wu
Publisher:ProQuest - 2007


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