Monday, 1 April 2013

Social Studies and the use of Bushcraft


Social Studies are available as a course to the Sixth Form in the UK and take into account various aspects such as including ` sociology but also political science, history, economics, religious studies, geography, psychology, anthropology, and civics. ` (Wikipedia) obviously Bushcraft concentrates mainly on the Anthropology aspect but take into account other aspects from the list above as well.

                What this means in terms of teaching outdoor education in general and bushcraft in particular is that students will come to understand that people who pursue these activities are not “weird” but have a different attitude towards leisure and hobby times then other groups of society and that far from being pointless or a waste of time can contain some valuable life skills of both `soft` and `hard` skills, soft skills that are transferable between virtually every aspect of daily life such as teamwork, problem solving, interaction and hard skills such as fire lighting, cooking, shelter building. Students would also learn that these skills are still relevant in today’s world and indeed are still practiced in parts of the world as evidenced by Ray Mears TV programs Bushcraft, Northern Wilderness, Real Heroes of Telemark and Ray Mears goes Walkabout. Students on Bushcraft courses would learn that although the skills presented in these programs seem distant, foreign and unfamiliar they are actually closer than they appear, this can be summarized by the phrase “western culture is only four days deep” (unknown) this was said after research undertaken into people attitude towards both tribal/ community life and their reliance on technology, essentially groups of people were taken  on an outdoor survival and education course, given basic knowledge and equipment and whilst supervised told to use what they had learned to live in a forest for seven days, within four days the group had reverted back to almost tribal status with people dedicated to certain tasks such as food gathering and preparation, water collection and wood gathering.

                Perhaps the most surprising influence and biggest awareness that students will have of both outdoor education and bushcraft will be in the use of elements of both within video games, two of these games show the most use of bushcraft are “Day Z” (designed by Dean Hall for the ARMA 2 game) and Eidos “Lara Croft Tomb Raider” (2013 release) within these games the player is forced into a survival situation and a fight for their lives and although the use of modern tools such as an ice axe and guns are portrayed in the games, the player must still hunt animals, butcher and cook food over open fires but only they have collected fire wood and found a way to light a fire, in “Tomb Raider” by creating a fire striker and in Day Z by finding matches.

 Day Z also uses factors of co-operation within the multiplayer environment, in that to successfully survive more than a few hours of gameplay the player must join with more experienced players whilst gathering equipment for themselves, after this task has been accomplished the player can then decide if they want to stay with the group or break off on their own. Because of the familiarity of these situations it may peak the curiosity of students into finding out how easy these skills are to pick up and will also make it easier to relate these skills to their lives.

Lone Wolf can teach these skills and the relevance behind them to social science groups in safe environments whilst at the same time allowing students to learn that all their actions have consequences and being a mobile business we can come to you or use one of our third party sites to teach these skills.    

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