Guest Blogger: Mark ‘Shrimpy’ Shrimpton
Mark Shrimpton began his Outdoor Education career obtaining a Bachelor of Education in Outdoor / Physical Education) from Liverpool John Moore University, UK in 1982. Since then he has pursued a 36-year career working internationally as a school teacher and deputy principal; instructor/coach/adventure guide; corporate training & development course director and business owner. Mark currently teaches at Denmark Senior High School which has a highly regarded Year 11-12 ATAR Outdoor Education Course. Students experience authentic learning experiences which are delivered by highly experienced school staff close to the school. Thus, the partnership with such a high-quality organisation as Outward Bound Australia is a great fit!
Recently, I had the pleasure of being in a very special position. I was asked to accompany a small group of Year 9 students as the accompanying teacher on a customised 4-day ‘Young Achievers- Leadership Program’ conducted by Outward Bound Australia in Walpole National Park, WA. For the school there were several key factors that contributed to making this program such an astounding success.
The key factors were:
- Students – Positively motivated by virtue of identified leadership potential and their excellent attitude, behaviour and effort across many school learning areas. Therefore, they had ‘earned’ this opportunity!
- An accompanying Teacher – With a strong outdoor background and had a good knowledge of the students’ learning styles and their family background.
- Outward Bound Australia – Provided a customised, high-quality wilderness-based program staffed by qualified and experienced staff who were highly competent at facilitating and adapting situations to meet the learning needs of the students, the changing weather conditions and always within a strong framework of safety.
- Co-operation – Customised program design, delivery and follow-up between Outward Bound’s client manager and school-based teachers working closely together made a substantial difference to the quality of educational outcomes.
- Setting – OBA’s area of operation in Walpole National Park offered a challenging learning environment matched to the program objectives within 1-hours travel time of school.
- Time of the year: Challenging Winter conditions that focused the students on the importance of planning, group organisation, leadership, and working effectively together to keep warm, whilst achieving challenging tasks.
Students all achieved a good understanding of the skills of both Teamwork, ‘follow-ship’ and Leadership as they bonded together as a high-performing team successfully completing all tasks resulting in substantial individual and group learning. They thoroughly deserved the accolades given by Outward Bound Australia as ‘one of the best ever groups’ for their outstanding achievements. As an Ex-OBA instructor myself, and now a DSHS teacher, I echo these sentiments as these students have been equipped to become a fine group of future school leaders.
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