ERIC Number: ED243855
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Apr-26
Reference Count: 0
The Educational Value of High Risk Activities in the Physical Education Program: A Social Philosophical Perspective.
Sparks, Robert E. C.
A growing number of schools and institutions in North America have begun offering training in high risk activities such as high element rope courses, rock climbing, white water kayaking and canoeing, and scuba diving in conjunction with their regular physical education activity programs. High risk activities are those activities which occur in or create an environment which is hostile to the participant. The environment is hostile in the restricted sense that it is not supportive of human life so that, without proper equipment, technique, and training, the participant could not survive exposure to it. Related literature suggests that, while modern industrial society generally rejects the physical sort of risk taking evidenced in high risk activities, in the end social conditions and dominant values of society create a social milieu in which high risk activities have a meaningful and useful role. The literature explains risk taking in terms of a search for "eustress" (pleasant stress). Nietzsche's categories of Dionysianism and Apollonianism are employed to explain risk takers' behavior, and it is suggested that risk taking activities actually produce a catharsis for participants. It is concluded that a safely conducted, low actual risk, high risk activity program could serve as an important component in a physical education program. (JMK)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Apollonianism; Dionysianism; Nietzsche (Friedrich); Risk Taking
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (Houston, TX, April 22-26, 1982).