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Episode 156

March 16th, 2022

156: Adventure Education means Facilitating Vulnerability with Phil Brown

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    If you think of adventure education, do you imagine rock climbing, swinging from trees, and kayaking down flowing streams?

    For Phil Brown, Lead Trainer at High 5 Adventure Learning Centre, it looks more like overcoming vulnerability and supporting one’s peers.

    Adventure education is facilitation in action – literally. The act of exploring and adventuring stretches far beyond the physical experience and challenges us emotionally and socially.

    Phil joins me in this episode to share the facilitation lessons he’s learned from a career in adventure education.

    Find out about

    • Why adventure education is about far more than physical challenges
    • How to encourage risk-taking when you’ve worked hard to establish trust and psychological safety
    • Why collective and individual growth happens when we share novel experiences
    • How we each need different support structures around us to take risks – and how we can facilitate them
    • What it means to be vulnerable in a shared space and the things it can teach us

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    Questions and Answers

    01:03When did you start calling yourself a facilitator? 02:05 What advanced facilitation skills did you learn that changed your mind? 05:20Why Phil struggles with a ‘traditional’ educator mindset. 10:06Can you explain what adventure education is? 15:05What happens if the physical challenge is entirely within a person’s comfort zone? 21:15When does the trust start to build – on the ground or in the air? 23:38Can playful contexts teach us serious skills? 26:35How do you find the right ‘amount’ of risk? How do you determine that balance? 00:44Phil shares a story of how different personalities require different types of encouragement and empowerment. 07:56How do you make adventure education to a person with a physical disability? 16:48 Can adventure education translate to digital spaces? 19:56What’s the difference between an adventurous experience and a vulnerable experience? 24:21 What happens if we stop asking people to be vulnerable and, instead, ask them to be adventurous? 27:18Do we apologise for our emotions because we are not comfortable in them ourselves? 31:08Is it worth evaluating workshops immediately after they finish? 33:42What would be your advice to a facilitator who wants to be a little more adventurous?


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