You can find some information about my doctoral thesis from this presentation: pajulahti-8
The doctoral dissertation completed in 14.5.2016.
Your can find the English Summary of my doctoral dissertation from page 228 to page 234.
”The purpose of this qualitative, action-based ethnographic case study in the field of physical education is to contribute to the knowledge of experiential and adventure education, which spread to Finland in the 1990s, and to examine its applicability to teaching in compliance with the curriculum. In addition, the aim is to study the suitability of the approach for diverse learners. The research problems can be summarised through the following questions: (1) How does outdoor adventure education suit diverse learners? (2) During the school year, what changes occur in the students of the rehabilitative instruction and guidance group, in the group, and in the organisation? (3) How does outdoor adventure education suit the implementation and objectives of the curriculum?
The theoretical starting points of the study include Finnish and international theories and traditions of experiential and adventure education as well as the theories of holistic, reflective, experiential and constructivist learning. The learning environment of experiential and adventure education is often nature, so outdoor activities play a central role in the study.
The participants in the study were ten 16–22-year-old students in a rehabilitative instruction and guidance group at a vocational institution. In the school year 2012–2013, the group was offered experiential and adventure education in different settings. The approach was developed by a teacher team (including the group’s special needs teacher and instructor in addition to the author as teacher researcher) based on the theoretical framework of this study, and curricular goals were holistically considered in its realisation.
The data were collected by interviewing students and their families, the principal, the director of vocational education and training, the special needs teacher, and the special needs instructor. Observations, taking photos and videos, and saving students’ writings and stories were also included in the data collection methods. I made field notes, kept a research diary, and wrote memos on discussions with various partners. I implemented a follow-up inquiry with the special needs teacher and instructor in 2014. In addition, I collected material related to curricula at different educational levels and publications on experiential and adventure education. I consulted experiential and adventure education experts and compared the material I had collected with their views. I analysed the data with an analysis method I had tailored for the study, which suits ethnography, respects the data, and is linked to theoretical data.
The experiences of students, teachers, and parents were positive. The key findings demonstrate that outdoor adventure education supported communality and peer relationships, enhanced school enjoyment, reduced absences, and increased physical activity. According to the students and their parents, the method supported learning. It seems to be applicable to curricula at various educational levels and with diverse learners. Earlier studies also show that experiential and adventure education has positive effects on, for example, motivation, and consequently on learning and collaboration. Because this study is qualitative, the findings cannot be generalised. However, as the findings support earlier research results, I recommend a broader integration of the approach into curricula at different educational levels.
Keywords: experiential pedagogy, Erlebnispädagogik, adventure education, experiential and adventure education, outdoor exercise, outdoor adventure education, adapted physical activity, ethnography, action-based case study, curriculum, rehabilitative instruction and guidance for the disabled”