University of Tasmania
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Students' affective experience of connection with nature : an Australian university case study

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posted on 2023-05-27, 10:23 authored by Hayward, DCE
Emotion plays a significant role in the human experience, nevertheless, emotion, or the affective domain, has often been neglected in traditional learning environments. This research proposes that nature connection and the affective domain can be brought together to form a purposeful and powerful pedagogy. In light of this proposal, the aim of this research was to understand how initial teacher educators affectively experience connections with nature and how the understanding of this synthesis could help inform the current shift in Outdoor Education practice and pedagogy specifically, and curriculum and educational policies more broadly. The research was guided by the overarching question: How do Outdoor Education initial teacher educators' in an Australian university, experience nature connection in the affective domain whilst on an extended wilderness expedition? To answer this research question, qualitative naturalistic case study methodology was utilized, guided by the constructivist paradigm. A contextual framework underpinning this research was formed through the combination of two different but overlapping perspectives that acknowledge both the affective domain and the connection with nature elements of the research question. The collection of data involved in-field observations on a six-day wilderness expedition, participant interviews and reflective journals. The data was analysed inductively through the qualitative methods of descriptive, values and pattern coding. The analysis of data found that the initial contextual framework was ineffective for the complex explanation of initial teacher educators' affective experience of connection with nature. Instead the Affective Nature Connection Matrix was generated to holistically analyse the participants experience. Through the Affective Nature Connection Matrix, a generalizable pattern called the Affective Nature Connection Wave emerged from the data. This pattern showed that while the participants' experience was individually subjective, the experience was also similar in that all participants experienced a rise and fall of Affective Nature Connection. Further analysis showed that the Affective Nature Connection Wave was facilitated by an Affective Nature Connection Heartbeat that ran throughout the wilderness expedition. The Affective Nature Connection Matrix, Wave and Heartbeat was demonstrated to have implications for Outdoor Education practice, the Australian Curriculum and future educational policies.


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Copyright 2016 the Author

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