Playtime: Developing creativity through outdoor education

Leather, Mark (2016) Playtime: Developing creativity through outdoor education. In: 7th International Outdoor Education Research Conference. Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia, Canada, pp. 117-119. ISBN 1978772060690

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In this presentation I argue for a re-conceptualization of “playtime” and the development of playfulness as a useful learning tool to cultivate creativity. “Playful play facilitates creativity 1 – sometimes immediately and sometimes after a considerable delay” (Bateson and Martin, 2012, p.8-9). Teaching at a University the question I address is why we may wish to engage in “playtime” and how might this be achieved. There are two arguments for including “playtime”. Firstly, the neoliberalist discourse about higher education is concerned with employability and “getting a job”. In this sense, creativity is seen as a graduate employability skill by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)2 who consider the skill of creative thinking as a prime outcome of higher education. This CBI report found that a fifth of employers were not satisfied with graduates’ use of creative thinking. Secondly, there are theoretical and empirical accounts about adult playfulness that describe its relation to positive outcomes including: quality of life, creativity and spontaneity, virtuousness, stress coping and academic achievement. Playfulness also has the potential in serving as a lubricant in social situations and for teamwork in workrelated settings. There is a clear relationship between exhibiting playfulness and experiencing positive emotions. In this paper I suggest that outdoor educators engage in “playtime” and I propose a pedagogy of play to do this. However, we need to overcome the Victorian values of our educational past and its cultural association of playtime as childish and frivolous, since, as Proyer and Ruch (2011) argue, playfulness can be seen as an intellectual act, which opposes the view of playfulness in adults as being childish and without any great sense.

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Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2016 10:27
Last Modified: 22 May 2019 11:52

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