The role of self efficacy in constraints negotiation : rural Nova Scotia physical education teachers ability to implement outdoor education
DisciplineEnvironmental Studies : Nature-Based Recreation & Tourism
Outdoor pursuits module
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Previous research has highlighted a noticeable shift from humans, especially children and youth, engaging in activities in natural environments to an increasing tendency to participate in sedentary activities in front of a screen. Nova Scotia has taken steps to reduce the disconnect from the natural environment many youth are experiencing through implementation of a Grade 10 Outdoor Pursuits module into the public education system. However, even with the support of the province of Nova Scotia and school boards, research indicates that experience and attitudinal barriers of teachers implementing outdoor education are as compelling as economic and logistical barriers. The purpose of this study was to increase understanding of outdoor education in two Nova Scotia school boards through analysis of teachers’ experiences on the ground. In particular, understanding the constraints teachers face implementing and delivering the Outdoor Pursuits module and the relationship between physical education teachers’ motivation and perceived self-efficacy, and how they negotiated the constraints they do face. Overall, teachers’ implementing the module identified with the importance of getting students outside in their own backyards in the hope of promoting lifelong learning and physically active lifestyles. However, the findings illustrated that although a strong focus of the province and school boards has been on acquiring the physical supports needed, such as equipment and resources, developing self-efficacy of teachers and building social networks was more influential to participation levels. Key amongst the major influences in developing teachers’ self-efficacy with Outdoor Pursuits were being comfortable with and exhibiting a mastery of activities, experiencing the pursuits under the guidance of someone else who could successfully model it, and receiving peer support, feedback and discussion to stimulate excitement and the acquisition of knowledge. The evidence from this study indicates that training, the provision of mentors, and creating a structure of peer support are vital to raising teachers’ confidence, thereby enabling them to successfully negotiate future constraints.