New degree gets teachers outdoors | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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New degree gets teachers outdoors

Aspiring physical education teachers with a passion for the outdoors can now pursue their career path in a brand new double degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

USC’s new Bachelor of Education (Secondary)/Bachelor of Recreation and Outdoor Environmental Studies will prepare students to teach health and physical education (HPE) in secondary schools, in addition to opening up career pathways in outdoor education centres, adventure tourism and ecotourism.

Senior Lecturer in Outdoor Environmental Education Dr Glyn Thomas said the four-year double degree offered a career pathway unique in Queensland.

“The health and physical education teacher that emerges has two teaching areas, but also the capacity to teach outdoor education or environmental education. No other institution in Queensland is producing pre-service teachers with the skills and experience to teach outdoor education.

“It’s a highly experiential double degree.

“Students will get practical experience as student teachers, as well as in natural environments, including on Fraser Island and other areas around the Sunshine Coast.”

Before graduating, students will complete 80 days of practical experience in schools, 15 days of wider field experience and 25 days of outdoor environmental fieldwork.

Graduates will be qualified to teach both HPE and another subject area of their choosing, like maths, English or geography.

Outdoor Educators’ Association of Queensland president James McIntosh, who is also Director of Outdoor Education at Brisbane Girls Grammar School, said the combination of qualifications would see graduates well placed to enter the outdoor education industry.
“Schools today are needing more people that have not only a purely academic, classroom focus, but a focus that connects with children in a broader way,” Mr McIntosh said.

“If I was the principal of a school and there was someone who is a HPE teacher, but they’ve got this whole other string to their bow, I’d be pretty excited.

“They’re not limited to their classroom practice and can focus on experiential learning.”

USC will introduce a range of new study programs in 2016, including a Bachelor of Serious Games, a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Criminal Justice double degree and a Bachelor of Environmental Management. For more information go to

— Gen Kennedy

USC students undertaking practical experience on Fraser Island.
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