Norms and expectation or “Full Value Contract”

Setting the tone and creating expectations is a key element in outdoor education programs. Different programs use various methods to achieve this goal. I like using the Full Value Contract concept or a slight modification of it. According to Schoel, Prouty and Radcliffe (1988) the Full value contract has three main components. The components are:

• Agreement to work together as a group and to work towards individuals and group goals

• Agreement to adhere to certain safety and group behavioral guidelines

• Agreement to give and receive feedback, both positive and negative, and to work toward changing behavior when it is appropriate (p.95).

I will ask participants to write down the behaviors that they want in their community/group and how they are going to help each other out in maintaining those behaviors agreed upon. Then, I’ll ask them to sign the paper if they have agreed and committed to those norms/behaviors.

Do you use expectations setting/agreements/FVC in your programs? What kind?

Article – Training with Pizzazz

Thinking about the coming up staff trainings, I will be delivering, I redirect my attention to the article Training with Pizzazz at

I really enjoyed this article and I have gain new tools for my own bag of tricks, such as “pattern interruptions” to re energize the audience and the proper way of using a flip chart (and the ideas that David Rothier mentions in his posting about flip chart uses).  On the other hand, some of the ideas presented in this article I’ll never use, like the water guns to break the tension.  First, I think it is rude and secondly I’ll be promoting violence in my training. Is that the attitude I want my participants’ to gain? No if I want to develop the soft skills needed to enhance their emotional intelligence.

What is curriculum?

At the AEE Regional conference last weekend we came up with the following ideas…

-Learning progression

-Content of what is being taught

-Plan, goals, objectives

-A planned set of activities and lessons to meet goals and objectives

-Structure outline and guide for delivering information and promoting learning and growth

-What and how is going to be taught

-A guide for an educator to use to help facilitate the greatest transfer of knowledge to the students

Now my question is, how you define curriculum?

Outdoor Education (OE) links

These are 3 links that I visit almost everyday (one is in my RSS feed):
1.– This is a great website manage by James Neill.  I visit this website for current researches and instruments in OE.  I also enjoyed the free approach (copy left) of the site, especially for games/initiatives!

2. – This is an outstanding website using Web 2.0 technology in OE. Reading the “Daily news” is the way to keep current in the industry.

3.– The Association for Experiential Education website gives me a calendar of the industry events and conferences.  Also, I enjoy reading about the new books that are available in our field and the JEE articles.

TIOBEC Passages program

On April 18th of 2008 at 9:00 am I’ll be presenting or better yet deconstructing the TIOBEC Passages program curriculum.  This is going to be at the AEE Northeast Regional conference in Beckett, MA.  I’ll see you there!! 

Workshop description:

This workshop caters to individuals interested in learning about the Outward Bound curriculum designed for 13 year old boys in the “wilderness” setting.  Participants will start immersing in the deconstruction of the curriculum by examining the different concepts of curriculum according to McNeil (1996).  The concept of the humanistic curriculum is expanded and a link to the curriculum design (Tanner & Tanner, 1995) is created.  By participating in the “elements of the curriculum” initiative individuals are going to experience the main elements of the Outward Bound Passages curriculum; training, main, final.  A guided discussion enhanced by a presentation is followed.  Then, a silent gallery/slideshow with a worksheet for recording words or phrases that comes to mind while viewing this gallery closes the design element component of the workshop. Lastly, participants will create the Outward Bound Passages expedition using all the elements discussed in the presentation.  This last initiative is going to be done by participants interacting with each others and using some props provided by the facilitator.   Participants will walk away with the basic knowledge to design a humanistic curriculum in a wilderness setting.


AEE Accreditation Review “take aways”

photo_040309_008We just finished the AEE Accreditation Review training and as I start processing the experience I would like to share some of my initial reactions/”take aways”:
1. To Review a program is much like qualitative research in the sense that the reviewer is asking questions, interviewing participants and administrators, triangulating information and validating the data.  Then the reviewer starts looking for emerging themes.

2. Creating a reviewer site report is much like a lab report.  The review team presents the data and the findings “as is” without interpretations, bias or opinions.

3. To be an effective reviewer you have to start with the end in mind, writing information as you go and starting to think about the final report on the day you are assigned a review.

…more thoughts soon