Research Associate, Educational Consultant Odyssey
Dr. Judith Blaine is a Research Associate of the psychology department, Rhodes University. South African born and bred, Judith has spent the past 25 years living and working in Hong Kong and raising her four children. She has a medical background and after completing her BSc (hons) in Psychology, she went on to do her PGDE in Special Education and Masters in Applied Psychology. Committed to a constructivist approach, her PhD research explored the psychosocial outcomes of Outdoor Adventure Education (OAE) in adolescents in a South African setting, the findings of which she presented at Positive Education Conference in South Africa. Judith is passionate about positive education and SEL and is set to work with schools, both in Hong Kong and South Africa, to help them develop and incorporate a strength-based approach to assist in developing learners’ social and emotional competencies and life skills.
Advocating a strengths-based approach to outdoor adventure education (OAE) and adolescent psychosocial development
With the rapid advances in technology, social media and globalisation dramatically changing our world, 21st century education systems need to find new approaches to ensure that our youth flourish in this changeable future. Strength-based OAE programmes, in conjunction with other positive youth development programmes, may well offer such an approach. By adopting a strength-based approach to OAE, learners might feel a greater sense of autonomy, competence and relatedness, which would enhance that they are intrinsically motivated to participate. This would then potentially increase the positive outcomes of OAE, while also making the experience more meaningful and beneficial to the learners. This presentation would provide recent findings from a mixed-methods study exploring the psychosocial outcomes of outdoor adventure education for adolescents and in doing so will offer a framework for considering the effects of OAE, while encouraging a more widespread adoption of strength-based OAE where feasible.
There is an increasing appreciation that learners require a holistic education, which not only guarantees learning basic academic skills, but also psychosocial competencies that will assist them to become responsible adults and citizens. While greater empirical and conceptual understanding of the ways in which OAE might benefit learners is needed, the findings of this study may have implications for pedagogical practice and policy within the Hong Kong education system. In presenting these findings, it is hoped that educators would consider adopting a strength-based approach to enhance the development of psychosocial skills for adolescent learners.