Flinders University Campus Day Walk: Reflections
On Monday 19th July, half of the HLPE3532 class undertook a day walk around the Flinders University campus to begin investigating the practical considerations for a group bushwalk. As part of the activity, the group was split into pairs and each assigned an element of bushwalking skills to present to the wider group in order to share knowledge required for undertaking an extended bushwalking trip later in the semester. The day was rewarding, as the group formed a closer bond through the activity and I gained new knowledge of working outdoors with groups of people with varied experience level.
On arrival, I felt tentative about the various level of experience in our group and how our presentations would be received. On top of that, we had some wet weather looming and intended to be outside all day while trying to take on the information being presented by each group. At the beginning of the day I perceived some resistance amongst the group, as we were in the early stages of group functioning (Tuckman, 1965). There was a lack of enthusiasm to get started and give the first presenters (preparing a group for a walk) the appropriate level of attention. However, once the class moved into the Gym for the packing for a bushwalk presentation and began interacting with the equipment and presenters, the group appeared to relax and become more engaged.
I was impressed by the small group activities used in various presentations. In particular, the use of the mock first aid scenario in the Hazards presentation encouraged attendees to be more interactive and collaborative, and promoted deeper thinking about each presentation’s application and made for an enjoyable experience. Most presentations were interactive enough that I felt comfortable,
despite being introverted, to either contribute some of my own experiences or ideas, such as the cultural value placed on geographical locations by the local Indigenous people. Throughout the day, I could see the connection between what we were doing and the previously introduced concept of Outdoor Education and experiential learning as described by Priest (Priest in Tinning et al., 2006). The importance of practical learning opportunities was reflected in the level of engagement with interactive workshops when compared with those that were missing interactive elements.
Toward the end of the day, despite having limited experience using a Trangia stove I felt comfortable enough with the group that I could run my own presentation, demonstration and practical activity, which appeared to engage the group well which was reflected by others providing tips and insights and asking questions. This reminded me of
the importance of empowering others to have a voice and encouraging group members to share their knowledge and experiences. Overall, by the end of the day I believe the group had bonded and we each have a better idea of the relevant skills and experiences we bring to the group to create a wealth of knowledge that will benefit our multi-day walk later in the semester.
Tinning, R., McCuaig, L., & Hunter, L. (2006). Teaching health and physical education in Australian schools. Prentice Hall.
Tuckman, B. W. (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63(6), 384–399. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0022100