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The perception, management and performance of risk amongst Forest School educators

Connolly, Mark and Haughton, Chantelle 2017. The perception, management and performance of risk amongst Forest School educators. British Journal of Sociology of Education 38 (2) , pp. 105-124. 10.1080/01425692.2015.1073098

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Abstract

This article investigates how risk perception amongst teachers within an outdoor educational initiative, Forest School, both shape and are shaped by their understandings of childhood, pedagogy and their own professional identity. Drawing on a social constructionist perspective in theorising risk and childhood, the article argues that contemporary, hyper-sensitised concerns regarding children’s vulnerability emanate from both fears of the modern world, and the proclivity towards over-protection which these fears precipitate. Rather than treating this hyper-sensitivity as irrational or paranoid, the paper draws on socio-cultural theories and qualitative methods to interrogate how risk is perceived, managed and performed by teachers within an initiative which aims to reintroduce risk into children’s lives. The research found that while these teachers’ motivations to participate in Forest School were derived from a desire to expose children to formative risk-taking in the outdoors, the hegemonic cultural and institutional risk aversion which they were attempting to counter, aligned with their contested occupational identity, created tensions in how they managed and performed risk which militated against the full realisation of a Forest School pedagogy.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: risk, childhood, Forest School, teacher professionalism, nature, outdoor education
Additional Information: PDF uploaded in accordance with Publisher's policies at http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/issn/0142-5692/ (accessed 19.11.15).
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0142-5692
Date of Acceptance: 9 July 2015
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2017 08:43
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/81369

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