The Art and Science of How People Learn - Revised Edition
Edited By Greg S. Goodman
41. Alternative School Adaptations of Experiential Education
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Alternative School Adaptations of Experiential Education
Greg S. Goodman
The ignorant man is not the unlearned, but he who does not know himself, and the learned man is stupid when he relies on books, on knowledge and on authority to give him understanding. Understanding comes only through self-knowledge, which is awareness of one’s total psychological process. Thus education, in the true sense, is the understanding of oneself, for it is within each one of us that the whole of existence is gathered.
—Krishnamurti (1953, p. 17)
Ever since Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School’s (NOLS) beginnings in the late 1960s and early 1970s, individuals trained within these schools have branched out and sought sites to apply the skills and dispositions they acquired. One of the most popular applications of experiential learning has occurred within alternative educational and therapeutic communities. In this chapter, I attempt to articulate a pedagogy and praxis for use with those identified as needing affective, social, or other psychosocial education and/or therapy. Also included in this chapter are some stories that help to experientially connect the pedagogy of outdoor education with the daily praxis of the leadership.
At-risk youth require a psychosocial atmosphere that acknowledges these adolescents’ essential and unique needs for safety, trust, and recovery following the many years of educational and other social failure that preceded their placement in an alternative program (Baker, Bridger,...
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