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Planning for your OE Integrated Pathway

This page is designed to help students interested in the Outdoor Education Integrated Pathway to track progress and get a better sense of what is required for the capstone portfolio.  

Intent to Declare

We suggest you start planning for your designation during your first or second year by filling out the Intent to Declare form. The Intent to Declare form will help you keep track of what requirements you have completed and plan when to complete ones you have not yet fulfilled. You should consult an adviser in the outdoor education office and your academic advisor to help plan your path for success!

The Capstone Portfolio

The entire document must be submitted electronically in PDF format to the Director of Outdoor & Environmental Education. To graduate with the Outdoor Education Integrated Pathway, the portfolio must be submitted no later than March 31 of the graduating year. We highly encourage students to complete the portfolio before this deadline. Outdoor Education program faculty will review portfolios and schedule a feedback meeting prior to approving the capstone requirement. 

The Capstone Portfolio should contain:

  1. Title page with student name
  2. Statement of Educational Philosophy
  3. Critical Reflective Field Practicum Essay
  4. Sample Lesson Plan
  5. Outdoor Resume

Outdoor Education Capstone Portfolio Guidelines and Planning

Descriptions of Portfolio sections:

Statement of Educational Philosophy (5-7 pages, double spaced)

This is a commonly requested supplementary submission for jobs and positions in a wide range of education-related fields and, as a result, it is important for students to become comfortable with articulating an educational philosophy. Typically, a philosophy of education statement weighs in on the following “educational commonplaces”—the elements that exist in all educational contexts regardless of subject matter or activity. For more on writing an educational philosophy, see:


a. Teacher: what is the role of the teacher/leader in the educational space?

For outdoor educators, you should think through what kind of leadership style appeals to you and why. How does one “teach” in outdoor contexts? What is effective? Why?

b. Student: what is the role of the student/learner in the educational space?

Again, for outdoor educators, how do you approach and see the student or learner? How much responsibility do you give them? How much risk is enough? Too much? How do you view not just individual students but students as they interact in social spaces? Is everyone an “A” student to you? How do you approach students who misbehave or are not succeeding for any number of reasons?

c. Subject Matter: what role does the content or the subject matter play?

Is skill development the most important part for you? Ethical and moral reasoning? Ability to work well in groups? Self-awareness? How do all these “content” or “subject matter” elements of outdoor education fit together and get prioritized for you?

d. Social Context: what informs the educational space?

How do you see the world fitting into outdoor education? What is the purpose of outdoor education in the larger social context? Power and identity issues like race, class, and gender might come into play here alongside climate change, global:local intersections, environmental ethics, self-responsibility, democratic and participatory societies, etc. 

Critical Reflective Essay on Qualifying Practicum Experience (3-5 pages, double spaced)

In your critical reflective essay, you should move between descriptive modes of writing (what did you do, how did you do it, what happened), analytical modes (what did you make of what happened, why significant or important), to application modes (how does/did the experience inform your practice as an outdoor educator looking to the future?). Using context from coursework and other academic experiences at Earlham will assist you in ensuring an appropriate amount of critical thinking in this essay. 

A sample written lesson plan from a qualifying field experience

While lesson plan structure varies from context to context, the following categories should be present:

a. Context: Who are you teaching? Where? For how long?

b. Objectives: Why are you teaching this content? What do you plan to accomplish?

c. Process: How do you plan to accomplish your objectives? Include a time plan and flow of activities.

d. Assessment: How will you know that what you did worked? How will you check for understanding and determine student understanding?

Lesson plans are best as discrete events (a single lesson). Aggregations of lessons are typically referred to as “unit plans” and we are not asking for that. For example, if you taught “navigation and compass” on a trip, include a write up of that lesson plan — not a lesson plan for the entire trip.

An outdoor-focused resume

In preparation for life after college and possible work in the outdoor field, you’ll need an outdoor specific resume. The difference with an outdoor specific resume is the inclusion of field days, workshops, trips led vs trips as a participant, personal trips, and other relevant experiences. In addition to the usual items you put on a resume, you will need to highlight your technical skills and experiences in outdoor contexts. 

You are always welcome to visit the career advisors in the CCCE if you have questions or need advice regarding your resume!

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Richmond, Indiana
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