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Title:Instructor strategies for facilitating the development of a positive group culture in Outward Bound
Author(s):Orson, Carolyn Nicole
Director of Research:Larson, Reed W
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Larson, Reed W
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Tu, Kelly M; Raffaellli, Marcela; Rosch, David M
Department / Program:Human Dvlpmt & Family Studies
Discipline:Human Development and Family Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Social-emotional learning
outdoor adventure education
adolescence
group process
group culture
qualitative methods
Abstract:Outward Bound (OB) is a model outdoor adventure education (OAE) program that has been providing expedition course experiences for youth for over 50 years. Participation in these types of programs is linked to improvements in social-emotional learning outcomes. The OB learning model suggests these outcomes are a result of experiencing challenges in the context of a positive group culture. However, there is limited research on how a positive group culture is created. This study aimed to understand OB instructors’ role in facilitating the development of a positive group culture. Semi- structured interviews were conducted with 31 instructors from two OB schools and asked them to describe the strategies they use to develop a positive group culture. To gain a more nuanced and contextualized understanding of instructors’ strategies, instructors were also asked about the barriers that interfere with the development of a positive group culture and how they address them. Based on grounded theory analysis, I identified four youth barriers and their related processes that disrupted the development of a positive group culture: egocentric orientation, social differences, fear of being judged, and course stressors. For each barrier, I identified three to four strategies that instructors used to address them. These strategies focused on helping youth conceptualize teamwork, bridge social differences, normalize vulnerability, and prevent and deescalate negative emotions. Each set of strategies utilized language and group structures to scaffold group norms that helped youth interrupt and transcend barrier processes. This study provides empirical guidance for staff practices and new instructor training, including accounting for the role of youths’ developmental capacities and social norms that they bring with them on course and emphasizing using both language and group structures to cultivate group norms.
Issue Date:2021-11-02
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/113830
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Carolyn Orson
Date Available in IDEALS:2022-04-29
Date Deposited:2021-12


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