About UsEducators Program


The leader in experiential and outdoor education.  

The Educators' Initiative is an innovative program that focuses on professional development for classroom teachers through the lens ofexperiential education. Teachers are immersed in a collaborative environment where firsthand experiences, hands-on learning, and individual and group reflection foster professional growth and personal transformation. Educators will focus on how to incorporate experiential education into their classrooms, while receiving the support of a network of colleagues to assist them in their curriculum development and delivery.

Publications Available

Kurt Hahn Fellows

North Carolina Outward Bound supports the participants, known as Kurt Hahn Fellows, throughout the school year with regular coaching calls, mid- and end-of- year retreats, monthly meetings, and an online open source "classroom" where educators can share ideas, lesson plans and curriculum.

In addition, the Evaluation, Assessment, and Policy Connections (EvAP) of the School of Education at the University of North Carolina atChapel Hill acts as a research component to the program, using a collaborative evaluation approach (O'Sullivan, 2004) to:

a) Develop evaluation instruments,
b) Implement data collection,c) Analyze data, and
d) Provide a summary report of findings that highlight program strengths, identifychallenges, and consider unexpected outcomes.

The findings from this research will be shared within the national educational community, strengthening the body of knowledge that purports the advantages of using experiential education in the classroom.

Read the most current Executive Summary of the Educators' Inititive EvAP.


Collaboration with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Education and North Carolina Outward Bound School are offering experienced social studies teachers in grades 6-12 an innovative master’s degree program.

You can read more about our collaboration here.

Check out a video that UNC's School of Education put together for their 2010 North Carolina Outward Bound experience.

North Carolina Outward Bound School has been running educators courses for over 20 years. The Educators Initiative is using the success of these courses as its foundation.

Wilderness Course

The eight-day courses take place in the North Carolina mountains. A variety of components create a framework of collaboration, problem solving and leadership development, and help educators build a toolbox of experiential education methodology. Throughout the course, skilled Outward Bound instructors facilitate discussions, workshops and reflection that allow the Fellows to deepen their practice while opening up to new teaching and assessment methods for their classrooms. The course ends with a workshop focusing on the transference of their wilderness experience into their everyday lives at school and home.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1 You will be dropped off in the heart of the stunning wilderness of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Shoulder your backpack and learn how to navigate through the woods. After learning how to set up your tarp and prepare dinner over camp stoves, your group shares educational philosophies.

Day 2  A hands-on map and compass lesson leads the group into a discussion on experiential education. Use new skills to navigate, make decisions, and work together as a team. In a workshop, share personal experiences with experiential education in their classrooms.

Day 3  An invigorating off-trail hike is followed by a rewarding service project in the afternoon, where you help protect the local habitats of deer, peregrine falcons, and salamanders. After dinner, walk to an overlook to see the star-filled sky and town lights in the valley far below.

Day 4  An early morning hike brings you to a rock face that you climb with the support of your group. Discuss the use of challenging experiences to foster character development and reach students with different learning needs. Participate in diversity activities that you can use with students in the classroom, then bivouac under the stars.

Day 5  Take on the high ropes course through teamwork and cooperation. Debrief the experience focusing on the use of metaphor in experiential education. Work in small groups to develop experiential lesson plans and a classroom "bag of tricks," then share with the larger group.

Day 6  In the morning, a challenging discussion on which trail to take leads to a productive conversation on leadership styles and empowering quieter students in the classroom. Challenge yourself with an overnight solo, a period of reflection to look at your practice as an educator, as well as reflect on your life and get some rest and solitude.

Day 7  Rejoin your teammates, share stories and prepare for your final challenge. The group uses new skills to guide the team back to the Outward Bound base camp. Clean your gear and take an invigorating shower. A guest speaker leads the first half of a workshop on how to allow this experience to influence your teaching and classroom practice. Celebration dinner and graduation ceremony.

Day 8:
Complete the Transference Workshop. Participants set goals and meet with the project manager, who will work with each school throughout the year. Participants leave as Kurt Hahn Fellows, and the next phrase of the adventure begins!

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