Creating
Healthy,
Guided
Rites of Passage
for Adolescents
James Neill
Centre for Applied Psychology
University of Canberra

Slide 2

Imagine We Have
Just Landed On Earth

What Would We Report on  Adolescents in Developed Countries?
Behaviour Problems
Drug/Alcohol Problems
Family Problems
Depression & Anxiety
Learning Problems
Uncertain future
Lack of healthy guidance

What Did We Do In the Past?
Physically-based,
Spiritually-focused
RITES OF PASSAGE

What are Rites of Passage?
the way in which traditional societies structured life transitions

Universal Model
Arnold van Gennep
Separation
- symbolic death experience -
Transition
- ‘neutral zone’ between old and new -
Incorporation
- reintegration with social order on a new basis -

Australian Aboriginal Model
Maddern (1990)
Symbolic Journey
The Challenge
Opening the Door to the Dreaming
Responsibility
Community Participation

"Adolescence is a time of..."
Adolescence is a time of direction finding
Responsibility for guidance falls with ‘elders’

Today’s Adolescents Face...
A society undergoing massive change
Working into the 2050’s
Living into the 2100’s

Modern ‘Rites of Passage’
Religion
Apprenticeships
Military
School
Other experiences

School-Based Intervention
Schools are increasingly asked to educate the ‘whole person’
Curricular: civics, PD, health, religion
Extra-curricular: sport, drama, camps
Special Programs
Whole school philosophy

Effective Prevention Program Characteristics
1. physically oriented
2. use school context, outside school location
3. residential setting & long duration
4. conducted by therapists or trained leaders
5. incorporate aims of adolescents, parents & teachers and include them as targets in the program

Adventure Education Theory
Hattie, et al, 1997
Immediacy of experience
Difficult goals
Supportive environment
Feedback

Research Evidence
Hattie, et al, 1997 (N~12,000)
Typical outcomes:
self-concept, leadership, well-being, communication
Adventure program ESs         ~.34
                      = 13% improvement
Innovative, affective classroom-based programs     ~.28
Psychotherapeutic self-esteem outcomes         ~.37
Adventure program followup ESs         +.17
       = further 7% improvement
      = OVERALL AVERAGE: 20% improvement

Life Effectiveness Questionnaire
Pre-post Outcomes for Adolescents (N=698)
 (Neill, 2001)

Main
Adventure Program Models
Residential Camp - Sport & Rec. Camps
Adventure Expedition - Outward Bound
Specialist Educator - Outdoor Education Group
Extended Stay Outdoor Education Programs
Longitudinal, Extra-curricular Program - D of E
Indoor & Mobile Experiential Challenge - PA
Creative & Dramatic Experiential Challenge

Other
Adventure Education Models
Science expeditions
Environmental expeditions
Overseas expeditions
Expeditionary Learning
Service-based experiential learning
In-school adventure resources
Spiritual/religious

Future Forms
of Adventure Education?
Rite of Passage Expeditions
Ceremonies
Marathon/Endurance Experiences
Farm-based & Self-sufficiency experiences
Alternative Education / Therapies
Virtual Personal Development


In Conclusion
Students face a challenging future and need healthy, guided rites of passage
We have a responsibility to trial and evaluate  a wider range of prevention programs
Adventure education has sound theory, good research support, and an adaptable format