Japanese students down-under: Is Australian outdoor education relevant to other cultures?


Nola Purdie
James T. Neill

Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 4(1), 48-57,1999


There is very little evidence about the effects of Western outdoor education programs on non-Western participants. This study involved an experimental group of low-achieving Japanese students who participated in an Australian outdoor education program (N=32) and a control group of similar students who remained at school in Japan (N=40). The 22-day outdoor education program consisted of two week-long wilderness-based expeditions, two English language instruction sessions, and a cultural and tourism experience. Students completed a multi-dimensional self-concept instrument before and after the program, and about half the students also completed a follow-up. Students also rated the quality of their outdoor education experience. Surprisingly, there were no positive self-concept changes, but there were significant reductions for the Peer and Confidence self-concept subscales, and lower than expected ratings of course value and group relations. Various programmatic and cultural explanations for the findings are presented.

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