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ERIC Number: EJ1070005
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1324-1486
Communicating Risk with Parents: Exploring the Methods and Beliefs of Outdoor Education Coordinators in Victoria, Australia
Dallat, Clare
Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, v13 n1 p3-15 2009
This paper examines the risk communication strategies currently being employed by seven outdoor education co-ordinators in Government schools in Victoria, Australia. Of particular interest are the beliefs and assumptions held by these co-ordinators in relation to communicating risk with parents. Current policy stipulates that parents must be sufficiently informed in order to provide consent for their child to participate in an outdoor education program, however it does not specify a specific model or approach to be followed. Coronial reports, recommendations and litigation following several fatal outdoor education incidents both in Australia and other countries, suggest that parents were not appropriately informed of the risks involved, or were given insufficient information on which to base their consent. These types of incidents, coupled with the assertion that we are now living in an increasingly litigious and "blamist" society, serve to highlight the need for communications where parents are viewed as integral stakeholders. A qualitative research methodology was used and the seven co-ordinators provided examples of their risk communication and participated in a semi-standardised interview. Co-ordinators' current methods for communicating risk were analysed within the context of current theoretical thinking in risk communication and the interview findings solicited the associated beliefs and assumptions behind these strategies. Overall, the "deficit" model of risk communication was being employed by the co-ordinators. This model does not consciously allow for the perceptions and worldviews of the parents. It is essentially "one-way." Finally, I suggest strategies for developing a holistic model of risk communication, within the context of current theoretical thinking, where parents are invited to be more involved in decisions about risk involving their child.
Outdoor Council of Australia. 150 Caxton Street, Milton, Queensland 4064, Australia. Tel: +61-7-3369-9455; Fax: +61-7-3369-9355; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A