Student participation styles in adventure education

Mark H. Zmudy, Matthew D. Curtner-Smith, Jeff Steffen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Sport pedagogy researchers have contributed much to the literature on physical education teaching by describing the participation styles of children, youth and young adults in various settings. The purpose of this study was to describe the participation styles of children enrolled in two consecutive week-long summer adventure camps. Primary participants were 31 elementary and middle school students. Secondary participants were the two adventure educators (AEs) responsible for carrying out all the instruction at the camps. Data were collected using a variety of qualitative techniques and analysed using standard interpretive methods. Nine participation styles were identified indicating that the children in the camps had differing experiences of adventure education and varying degrees of success. Some of the participation styles had similar characteristics to those discovered previously in middle school physical education. Despite these similarities and unlike the middle school setting, there was no indication that a hierarchy of participation styles existed and, consequently, there was no sign of any bullying. Reasons for this difference may well have been the heavy focus on affective objectives within adventure education, much lower student-teacher ratios, higher levels of supervision and management, and greater instructional intent and skill.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-480
Number of pages16
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2009


  • Adventure education
  • Participation styles
  • Physical education


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