Thumbnail Image

Understanding outdoor education in South Korea: The perspectives of current leaders

Outdoor education includes the provision of outdoor learning experiences to assist youth’s holistic development in relation to the outdoor environment. The formalised educational practice of outdoor education internationally derived mainly from the Western part of the world, with famous Western scholars and philosophers providing the root of the ideas and theories (Wurdinger, 1997). The practice is now widespread in different parts of the world, including South Korea. However, outdoor education in South Korea has not yet gone through systematic development (Lee, 2018). In-depth exploration to understand outdoor education through the eyes of current outdoor education leaders in South Korea and the key influences and social and cultural context that impacted the delivery of outdoor education is, therefore, timely. This study aims to understand outdoor education in South Korea, focussing on why and how outdoor education in South Korea has shaped as it is today. This interpretive qualitative study was framed by critical realism and contextualism and used culturally responsive approaches to explore and highlight the perspectives and experiences of current outdoor leaders in Korea. One-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted online with six current outdoor education leaders in South Korea from different backgrounds. Through thematic analysis, four main themes were identified. The first theme focused on learning outdoor education in South Korea, highlighting the challenges leaders face in learning and developing themselves as an OE leader. The second theme explored policies and regulation that impacts the operation and delivery of outdoor education. The third theme explored the perception of outdoor education from different parts of society, including parents, teachers, schools and organisations. Lastly, the final theme explored these current leaders' ideas and perceptions of the future of OE in South Korea. Given the interconnection of each challenge identified through the analysis of four themes, for OE to flourish in South Korea, there was the need for clarification of outdoor education, investment in the development of Korean-style outdoor education and changes in perception. The research concludes with areas for further study, limitations and a summary of the entire research.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
All items in Research Commons are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.