Thursday, November 18, 2010

Do the mountains speak? or the importance of experiential design

"Wilderness, in itself, makes nothing happen. Saul and David were both in the wilderness. Saul was running after David, obsessed with hunting him down, his life narrowed to a murderous squint. Meanwhile, David was running to God and finding himself in his God-refuge praying, wide eyed in wonder, taking in the glory, awake and ready for God's generous love, for the God who 'makes good on his word.'"- Eugene Peterson

I read this quote this morning (thanks to my friend Gideon for posting it) and I couldn't help be struck by its timing. There is an argument in outdoor education about the role of the instructor in learning. The minimalist believe the mountains speak for themselves and thus the role of the instructor is to take people places where they can hear the mountains. The other side of the spectrum could be called the translators. They believe the mountains might speak but student won't learn much from the experience itself without some guided translation/reflection/ application. This they believe is the role of the instructor.

The CCO's Outdoor Leadership Team has spent a good part of the summer and fall thinking about how to best serve the CCO in its mission to transform college students to transform the world. In the next few posts, I will share some of the changes that have come out of this research and reflection. The first change is our name. The group formerly known as the Outdoor Leadership Team has been renamed CCO Experiential Designs or CCO XD for short. While it doesn't quite roll off the tongue, it is much more accurate to what we do. It highlights that not all of our work is in the wilderness and it also gives a good idea about what we think the role of the instructor is when using experience as education.