Teen edition: Dugwyler’s experiential learning | SkyHiNews.com

Teen edition: Dugwyler’s experiential learning

Savannah Shipman
Middle Park High School senior
Granby, Colorado

Middle Park High School has offered the Junior River Trip for years as a part of the Adventure Education Program in the East Grand School District.

While school arranges learning and classes in a strict, routine order, taking part in activities such as a river trip, backpacking or an urban experience can sharpen learning skills applicable in various environments. River Trip originally began during the 1970s as an eighth grade trip, and then changed to a junior trip. River rafting offered a new, exciting idea and sport for East Grand School District students and staff. Yet the overall support and excitement of River Trip and other outside activities has slowly started to diminish. For about the first 27 years, River Trip worked well with a small number of interested students and enthusiastic staff. Now, after class sizes have increased and numerous changes in staff occurred at the high school, the Adventure Ed. Program is “having a harder time getting student and staff interest,” says Jack Dugwyler, who has nearly 30 years of adventure Ed experience, with the last 15 of it at MPHS. Dugwyler supports adventure education as a way to reapply the skills they learn in the classroom to the real world. That’s what makes adventure education “worth it,” and “it’s not happening here” — at least not as much as it should. In the last two weeks of April, the Adventure Education Program with the help of Mr. Dugwyler’s Civics Class will launch a web-based survey available on the Middle Park High School website that asks students, community members and EGSD staff about their views regarding Adventure Education and experiential learning. And, even though there are less students and staff available, along with the subtle loss of the novelty of river rafting on the River Trip, Dugwyler, among others, has faith that here in the East Grand School District and at Middle Park High School, “the idea of experiential learning remains strong.”

In the last two weeks of April, the Adventure Ed. Program, with the help of Dugwyler and students from his Civics class, will launch a Web-based survey available on the Middle Park Web site asking the students, community members, and EGSD staff about their views and opinions of Adventure Education and experiential learning. Dugwyler is very interested in knowing how people agree with experiential learning and if there is any more support for other ways for students to experience Adventure Ed. beyond or instead of River Trip. Even though there are less students and staff available along with the subtle loss of the novelty of river rafting in River Trip, Dugwyler has faith that here in the East Grand School District and the high school, “the idea of experiential learning remains strong.”

Dugwyler believes experiential learning lies at the heart of the Adventure Ed. Program. It focuses on bringing out students’ curiosity, in which they “learn by doing and … that it helps foster a life-long learner in everyone,” Dugwyler said.

While school arranges learning and classes in a strict, almost routine, order, taking students out to take part in activities such as a river trip, backpacking or an urban experience can sharpen learning skills applicable in various environments. In his opinion, “Students can refocus on communication, educational and interpersonal skills… and then reapply those in the classroom.”

Adventure Ed. activities appear important enough for students to even miss school for as long as they and teachers make it worth it by reapplying the skills they learned within the classroom, because that is what makes it “worth it.” That, however, also remains a challenge within the school and, according to Dugwyler, “It’s not happening here” – at least not as much as it should.

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River Trip originally began during the 1970s for eighth graders, then changed to a Junior trip. River rafting offered a new, exciting idea and sport for the students and staff to join. For about the first 27 years, River Trip worked well with the smaller amount of students and enthusiastic staff members. Now, after class sizes have increased and numerous changes in staff at the high school, the Adventure Ed. Program is “having a harder time getting students and staff interest,” said Dugwyler.

In the last two weeks of April, the Adventure Ed. Program, with the help of Dugwyler and students from his Civics class, will launch a Web-based survey available on the Middle Park Web site asking the students, community members, and EGSD staff about their views and opinions of Adventure Education and experiential learning. Dugwyler is very interested in knowing how people agree with experiential learning and if there is any more support for other ways for students to experience Adventure Ed. beyond or instead of River Trip. Even though there are less students and staff available along with the subtle loss of the novelty of river rafting in River Trip, Dugwyler has faith that here in the East Grand School District and the high school, “the idea of experiential learning remains strong.”

Taking learning beyond the classrooms

By Savannah Shipman

Middle Park High School senior

Middle Park High School has offered the Junior River Trip for years and it is a part of the Adventure Education Program in the East Grand School District. Yet, the overall support and excitement of River Trip and other outside activities has slowly started to diminish. Jack Dugwyler, a Civics and American History teacher at Middle Park, has taught and been a part of the Adventure Education program in this district for the past 15 years, and took part in a similar program at another school 15 years before for a total of 30 years of experience in arranging activities for students outside of school.

Dugwyler believes experiential learning lies at the heart of the Adventure Ed. Program. It focuses on bringing out students’ curiosity, in which they “learn by doing and … that it helps foster a life-long learner in everyone,” Dugwyler said.

While school arranges learning and classes in a strict, almost routine, order, taking students out to take part in activities such as a river trip, backpacking or an urban experience can sharpen learning skills applicable in various environments. In his opinion, “Students can refocus on communication, educational and interpersonal skills… and then reapply those in the classroom.”

Adventure Ed. activities appear important enough for students to even miss school for as long as they and teachers make it worth it by reapplying the skills they learned within the classroom, because that is what makes it “worth it.” That, however, also remains a challenge within the school and, according to Dugwyler, “It’s not happening here” – at least not as much as it should.

River Trip originally began during the 1970s for eighth graders, then changed to a Junior trip. River rafting offered a new, exciting idea and sport for the students and staff to join. For about the first 27 years, River Trip worked well with the smaller amount of students and enthusiastic staff members. Now, after class sizes have increased and numerous changes in staff at the high school, the Adventure Ed. Program is “having a harder time getting students and staff interest,” said Dugwyler.

In the last two weeks of April, the Adventure Ed. Program, with the help of Dugwyler and students from his Civics class, will launch a Web-based survey available on the Middle Park Web site asking the students, community members, and EGSD staff about their views and opinions of Adventure Education and experiential learning. Dugwyler is very interested in knowing how people agree with experiential learning and if there is any more support for other ways for students to experience Adventure Ed. beyond or instead of River Trip. Even though there are less students and staff available along with the subtle loss of the novelty of river rafting in River Trip, Dugwyler has faith that here in the East Grand School District and the high school, “the idea of experiential learning remains strong.”

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