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Year 12 Thames High School students take to the water for their outdoor education class trip. Photo: SUPPLIED

Outdoor ed puts students to the test

Inspiring students to work as a team and embrace challenges is what the Outdoor Education programme at Thames High School is geared up to do for its senior students.
The programme offers year 12 and 13 students an informative learning experience both inside and outside the classroom. Focusing on team work, problem-solving, and leadership skills, students will learn the theoretical aspects of different activities, followed by opportunities to apply their learnings in practical assessments.
Head of the health and physical education department Taryn Slee said the programme was “resilience building”.
“It’s supposed to be challenging. It’s not supposed to be an easy course.”
Miss Slee said part of the course was intended to test students, whether it was physically, mentally, or both at times.
“The other part is the teamwork and the collaboration with the other people in the class.”
Miss Slee said it was really cool to see people stepping up to help others in class who needed extra support.
“You can tell that they’ve got those leadership skills that they’re developing.”

Vector Wero Whitewater Park in Manukau was the first activity NCEA Level 2 students prepared for this year.
Students had to analyse risk management strategies, think about the health and safety issues around rafting and how they might try to mitigate them, Miss Slee said.
Students used four or five rafts during the day, and afterwards, students talked about what they did to keep themselves safe in the raft, Miss Slee said.
Year 12 student Abbey Mobberley said it was her first time trying white water rafting, along with everyone else in the group.
“It’s a different activity that we’d not usually do or have the opportunity to do,” she said.
nfidence to step out of her comfort zone were some things Abbey said she would like to gain from the course.
“Confidence in my peers as well because in the groups that we get put in, it’s not usually just our friends.”

Abbey said she was interested in the programme because of all the fun trips and it being a “different type of learning”.
“All our trips are spaced out – so we’ve always got something to look forward to,” Abbey said.
The next class trip will be black water rafting at Waitomo caves in May.
When asked what the best thing about working as a team was, Abbey said “we’re all becoming closer”.
“I feel like all our communication’s definitely building up.”
For students who are thinking about doing the outdoor education programme next year, Abbey said it allowed students to step out of their comfort zone.
“Definitely do it.”