|dc.description.abstract||The Port Hills in Christchurch, New Zealand, form a peri‐urban area of volcanic hills that separates the city of Christchurch from the Lyttelton Harbour. The Port Hills are a place rich in history, ecological conservation and restoration areas, and outdoor education and recreation opportunities. This research used the Port Hills as a case study to explore how outdoor educators have developed a sense of place of the Port Hills, and how this relates to their outdoor education practice.
An interpretive research methodology was used to explore the lives of eight expert outdoor educators from a wide range of personal and professional backgrounds. Each participant was interviewed twice. First, in a semi‐structured indoor interview, and second in a walking interview conducted in a location in the Port Hills of particular significance to the participant.
The main findings of this research support the increasing call for reorienting outdoor education practices such that the concept of place receives a central role. A focus on place allows outdoor educators to engage students in understanding how humans live in, experience, give meaning to, and develop relationships with particular locations. The research shows that participants have developed very strong relationships with the Port Hills that encompass all areas of their lives, and that these relationships are integral to their sense of wellbeing. Local approaches to outdoor education that integrate critical socio‐ecological inquiry, embodied exploration of places, and build explicit connections between students’ homes and the Port Hills, are valued strongly by the participants.
The thesis presents a model that conceptualises how outdoor educators can integrate place into their practice. As part of this conceptual model, it is argued that place‐constructive outdoor education practices recognise that the student‐place relationship is interdependent, and therefore that outdoor education practices should be both responsive, as well as reciprocal, to place. Such mutually beneficial approaches locate students within their socio ecological communities, and allow for meaningful integration of both sustainability education and outdoor education outcomes and pedagogies.||en