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Sustaining an Environmental Ethic: Outdoor and Environmental Education Graduates' Negotiation of School Spaces

  • Lou Preston (a1)


In this article, I draw on interviews with graduates from an Outdoor and Environmental Education course to explore the ways in which their environmental ethics changed since leaving university. I do this in relation to the graduates' personal and professional experiences, particularly in the context of teaching Outdoor Education and Physical Education in secondary schools. By offering two alternative readings of graduates' experiences, this research contributes to existing education literature about the ‘wash-out effect’ of teacher education courses once beginning teachers become immersed in schools. In the first reading I find evidence of regulatory and normalising strategies of society and school communities and a ‘plateauing’ of graduates' engagement with environmental practices. In a second reading, framed by Foucault's theory of power and ethics, I discern acts of ‘tactical’ resistance. This reading foregrounds strategies graduates use to negotiate the constraining spaces of schools.


Corresponding author

Address for Correspondence: Dr Lou Preston, Faculty of Arts & Education, School of Education, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds, VIC 3216, Australia. E-mail:


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Australian Journal of Environmental Education
  • ISSN: 0814-0626
  • EISSN: 2049-775X
  • URL: /core/journals/australian-journal-of-environmental-education
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