Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom

Case Study: Rosehill College

SN12 - External Learning - Rosehill College 3“Going beyond fun,” is just one of the sentiments from a Year 13 Rosehill College student on their recent camp at Great Barrier Island.

“An experience of a lifetime,” and “Who thought learning could be this much fun,” were also common sentiments from the students at the Papakura school.

Last June a group of 30 senior students spent five days at the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre (OPC) on Great Barrier Island.

Ian Adamson, Rosehill College physical education teacher and camp organiser, says the camp was a resounding success.

“The students were stretched not only physically but also mentally and emotionally.

“The learning they gain from this week consolidates the PE curriculum, and hones their skills in teamwork and leadership.”

The five-night camp provides the basis for half the grades associated with outdoor experience for the year – researching and planning prior to the camp, the camp itself, followed by debriefing and reflection on return to school.

Throughout the week the instructors facilitated an active cycle of reflection and personal change that complemented the school’s objectives. The students packed in a multitude of new experiences. They were also assessed against two unit standards (sea kayaking and ABL) and achievement standard 90740, which focuses on the effectiveness of a physical activity programme, and its influence on hauora/wellbeing. Down-time was at a minimum – not only were the days full of thought-provoking experiences, but evenings were spent in structured learning sessions run by the instructors. Learning journals focus personal reflection on curriculum and personal development outcomes.

“This year our students took advantage of benign winter weather to complete a three-day sea-kayak based expedition,” says Adamson.

“Each of the three teams of 10 planned their routes and campsites, taking into account weather, escape options, group strength and the local knowledge of their instructor.”

The students packed the gear and food that enabled them to live out of a sea kayak for two nights, then added wetsuits, helmets and the technical gear required for a coasteering trip along the way.

“A highlight for the teams during their expedition was a visit from dolphins – and for those courageous enough to brave the chill of an early morning swim it was a very close encounter,” says Adamson.

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