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ineptitude.”  This model also uses extensive adventure and outdoor education activities to reach students who don’t respond to typical school structures.

Traditional educational approaches were developed centuries before any scientific understanding of the human brain.  With increased knowledge of how the human brain functions, we now are able to restructure schooling so it is “brain friendly.”  Leslie Hart (1983), who has synthesized brain research related to education, suggests that the brain is designed to detect patterns and works best in nonthreatening, active and social settings.

Writing in 1909 in The Spirit of Youth and the City Streets, Jane Addams observed that many of the difficulties of youth are related to the reality that they are highly spirited and adventurous.  A distinctive feature of much youthful delinquency is the celebration of prowess.  These youth are not motivated by the humdrum routine of most schools.  Their search for fun and adventure often leads to excitement and kicks through risk-seeking behavior.

Wilderness education programs build on this spirit of adventure.  When struggling against the elements of nature, even the most resistant youth has no need to defy the law natural consequences (Bacon & Kimball, 1989).  The Eckerd Wilderness Educational System operates a network of programs for youth at risk across the eastern United States.  While totally abandoning the traditional classroom structure, its staff is able to make formidable academic and social gains with previously nonachieving youth.

Fostering Independence

      This is probably the biggest part of school that I don’t like.  All through school, kids are herded around like sheep

     and are left with almost nothing to decide upon. -  Travis

Traditional Native culture placed a high value on individual freedom, in contrast to “obedience” models of discipline.  Native education was designed to build “respect” by teaching inner discipline.  Children were encouraged to make decisions, solve problems, and show personal responsibility.  Adults modeled, taught values, and provided feedback and guidance, but children were

EDMS 512, Hood

Summer 2006

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