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Investigating the pedagogical content knowledge of outdoor education teachers

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thesis
posted on 2023-05-27, 11:20 authored by Walker, CT
Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is understood in contemporary literature as an essential component of the knowledge base required to deliver meaningful lessons and effective teaching. It is enacted through the blending of pedagogical and content knowledge (Shulman, 1987). Outdoor Education (OE) as a discipline is often undervalued as compared with mainstream subjects (Dyment & Potter, 2015). Recent OE literature has highlighted the signature pedagogies that are specific to OE (Thomas, 2015) and the bodies of content knowledge that Outdoor educators draw upon (Martin, 2008). PCK is a well-researched knowledge in other subjects, however there is little evidence of PCK research in OE. This research seeks to fill that gap through examining the PCK of Outdoor Education teachers as another element of quality teaching and learning in this subject. The overarching aim was to draw evidence of PCK from OE teachers' discussion and to inquire the effectiveness of the PCK Framework to determine suitable additions for the Framework. Contemporary educational and OE literature is blended throughout and examines PCK and the bodies of knowledge and significant pedagogies that OE offers. This research project included the interview of seven participants. The results and discussion is presented over two chapters and is integrated with the data analysis and literature. The results are presented in the PCK Framework Sections 1) Clearly PCK, 2) Content Knowledge in a Pedagogical Context, and 3) Pedagogical Knowledge in a Content Context. A majority of participants showed their capacity to draw knowledge from differing PCK categories (e.g. Curriculum Knowledge and Student Thinking) as a part of the teaching process. This research found that the following categories should be added to the PCK Framework for future research; 1) Knowledge of Place, 2) Facilitation Techniques, and 3) Group Management Techniques. This research contributes to OE through deciphering degrees of quality in teaching and learning and through contributing to the conversation of PCK research in OE.

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