This web page highlights a persistent, successful and exciting niche for outdoor education in Canada. Taught at the high school level, intensive, integrated outdoor/environmental programmes combine subjects such as Physical Education, English, Geography, Science, and Family Studies. In most cases, students spend an entire semester with the same peers and one or two teachers. Some programmes are based out of a single classroom or portable, moving out of the school for day-trips and extended expeditions; others are based at outdoor centers or camps, creating a mini-school campus away form the traditional concrete walls. Still others are constantly mobile, operating with no physical home base. Subject boundaries blur as students complete, canoe, hiking, and winter camping trips, bioregional and urban treks, and engage in environmental action projects, teach younger students and publish community-based magazines. A wide variety of programs have evolved, reflecting a combination of the strengths and interests of teachers, opportunities and interests existing in the local community, and needs and interests of students.
Both anecdotal evidence and more formal research confirm that high school students flourish in these programmes. They rekindle connections with their communities, their environment and themselves while having an opportunity to define, redefine, and ultimately, feel more comfortable being who they are. At least twenty-six such programmes exist in public schools across Canada. It is our hope that the following resources – both articles and web links – will provide a space for current and prospective integrated programme teachers to access and share resources.
NEW COEO PUBLICATION HIGHLIGHTING INTEGRATED CURRICULUM PROGRAMS
JOURNEYS into RELATION:
Vignettes of OEE-based Integrated Curriculum Programs in Ontario Secondary Schools
Teachers Stories, Volume 1
Thanks to the passionate and talented voices of 16 teachers, 1 student, one Faculty of Education Professor Emeritus and one Faculty of Education Instructor, longtime COEO member Grant Linney has compiled and edited a 109-page collection of information, stories and photographs regarding OEE-based Integrated Curriculum Programs across Ontario. Bert Horwood refers to these programs as “one of most stimulating innovations to have hit the education scene” in recent years. This online publication is now available to be downloaded from the COEO website.
COEO’s own Pathways, The Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education, is an invaluable tool for outdoor education professionals. Having back issues of the journal online, now makes it easy for anyone working in the field to access this storehouse of information. There is so much information, though, that it can be difficult to find exactly what you need.
The following links will take you directly to editions and articles about integrated high school programs. Hopefully, these connections will help educators and researchers find the wealth of resources available to teachers who currently facilitate programs, teachers who dream about starting programs and the researchers who prove their value.
Entire issues Dedicated to Integrated Programs
(A special issue dedicated to life and work of integrated program teacher Mike Elrick)
*excluding volumes 14(4), 22(3) and 24(1)
Developing an Integrated Program
Comishin, K., Dyment, J., Potter, T. & Russell, C.L. (2004). The development and implementation of outdoor-focused secondary school integrated programs. Applied Environmental Education and Communication, 3(1), 47-53.
Program Evaluation and Student Assessment
Comishin, K. & Potter, T. (2000). What’s going on in the Wild West? Four Public Secondary Schools that offer Integrated Curriculum Outdoor Education Programs. Pathways: The Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education, 12(5), 26-29.
Kittle, L. & Sharpe, E. (2005). Strategies for Sustainability: A Case Study of Outdoor Environmental Education in an Integrated Curriculum Program. Pathways: The Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education, 17(3), 12-16.
Dumond, C. & Warner , A. (2006). The Challenges of High School-Community Partnerships: Learning through Leading an Earth Education Program. Pathways: The Ontario Journal of Outdoor Education, 18(3), 5-10.
Henderson, B., Mehta, S., & Arnott, T. (1996). Inventory of integrated curriculum programmes employing outdoor experiential education at the secondary school level in Ontario. Toronto, Ontario: The Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario.
Horwood, B. (1994). Integration and experience in the secondary curriculum. McGill Journal of Education, 29(1) 89-102.
Lieberman, G. A. & Hoody, L. L. (1998). Closing the achievement gap: Using the environment as an integrating context for learning. San Diego, California: State Education and Environmental Roundtable.
Russell, C.L. & Burton, J. (2000). A report on an Ontario integrated environmental studies program. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 5, 287-304.