SIXTH GRADE STUDENTS’ ADVENTURE BASED COUNSELING EXPERIENCE: A CASE STUDY

Open Access
Author:
Albright, Richard Glendon
Graduate Program:
Counselor Education
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
December 20, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Richard Hazler, Dissertation Advisor
  • Richard Hazler, Committee Chair
  • Jolynn Carney, Committee Member
  • Jerry G Trusty, Committee Member
  • James F Nolan Jr., Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Adventure Based Counseling
  • ropes course
  • debriefing
Abstract:
General education, middle school students’ experience and outcomes related to their participation in adventure based interventions were investigated through the use of qualitative research case study design. Eight sixth grade Caucasian students from a rural school in Pennsylvania were participants in this study. The district’s annual adventure based counseling (ABC) program for the entire sixth grade class was spread over two school days and included both high and low ropes challenges for all program participants. Critical questions relate to what students expect, experience, and perceive as the impact of adventure based interventions. Research participants were interviewed three times and observed throughout the program. Analysis of the three interviews, researcher observations, field notes, and journaling provide key insights into ABC programming. Analyses of data for what students anticipated or expected from the participation revealed themes of fun, fear, and confidence. Themes for students’ perceptions of the experience were cognitive, emotional, and social challenge and success as well as fun. Analysis of the impact students perceived was social growth. These key insights into ABC provide facilitators, teachers, and administrators valuable information on the constructs through which participant growth occurs; with high ropes course outcomes differentiated from low ropes elements. The study also reveals discrepancies which may be connected to the focus of debriefing or lack thereof. Key research recommendations from this study include the quantitative exploration of multidimensional self-concept, the investigation of the long-term influence of the intervention, as well as the approach and nature of debriefing in the field.