Q:

Our PTA is going to have a discussion next month about setting up a challenge education program. I would like to be more knowledgeable about the subject before the meeting. - Need Information

A:

In the United States during the 1970s and 1980s, a group of educators became interested in integrating Outward Bound concepts into public school curriculums. Today, these programs are known as challenge or experiential education programs. They have been very effective in turning troubled schools around and preventing violence.

Challenge education programs are experience-based. They ask students to do something physically or emotionally out of their comfort zone and to allow other students to support them in their endeavor. The experiences can occur on a wilderness adventure, a school climbing wall or even in a classroom. The object is for the students to build their confidence through these activities so that they will believe they can succeed and thus turn themselves into self-motivated learners.