1st Edition

Sourcebook of Experiential Education
Key Thinkers and Their Contributions

ISBN 9780415884426
Published December 7, 2010 by Routledge
330 Pages

USD $75.95

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Book Description

Experiential education is a philosophy and methodology for building knowledge, developing skills, and clarifying values by engaging learners in direct experience and focused reflection. To understand experiential education, what should one be reading? This sourcebook introduces philosophers, educators, and other practitioners whose work is relevant to anyone seeking answers to this question. Following brief snapshots of John Dewey and Kurt Hahn, the book is organized in four sections:

  • Philosophers and Educational Theorists
  • Nature Educators and Outdoor Educators
  • Psychologists and Sociologists
  • School and Program Founders.

Each chapter focuses on an individual whose philosophy and practice exemplify a biographical and historical model for reaching a deeper understanding of experiential education. An appendix includes short biographical sketches of forty-five additional people whose contributions to experiential education deserve a closer look. This volume provides a much-needed overview and foundations for the field – for students in courses addressing experiential education, challenge education, outdoor experiential education, recreation education, and related fields; for learning theorists and curriculum specialists; for experiential educators; and for educational philosophers.

Table of Contents



1.Experiential Education and Learning by Experience, Thomas E. Smith, Clifford E. Knapp, Jayson Seaman, & Steve Pace

Part I. Philosophers and Educational Theorists

2. Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates: Ancient Greek Perspectives on Experiential Learning, Paul Stonehouse, Pete Allison, & David Carr

3. Rousseau and Pestalozzi: Emile, Gertrude, and Experiential Education Thomas E. Smith

4. Patrick Geddes: "Vivendo Discimus" - By Living We Learn, Peter Higgins & Robbie Nicol

5. Alfred North Whitehead: Educational Emergence, Jasper S. Hunt

6. Martin Buber: Dialogue, Relationship, the Other, and the More-than-Human World, Sean Blenkinsop

7. Paul Freire: Critical Praxis and Experiential Education, Mary Breunig

8. Maxine Greene: The Power of the Possible, Laurie S. Frank

9. Eleanor Duckworth: The Teacher's Teacher, Andrew Bobilya & Brad Daniel

Part II. Nature Study, Outdoor, and Environmental Education 

10. Louis Agassiz: Nature and Experiential Education, Clifford E. Knapp

11. Alexander von Humboldt: Experiential Expeditionary Scientist, Brad Daniel

12. Anna Botsford Comstock: Beyond Science - Learning about Self and Nature through Field Experience, Janice L. Woodhouse & Christopher D. Wells

13. Charles Eastman and Luther Standing Bear: Two Early Indian Writiers, Clifford E. Knapp

14. Aldo Leopold: Teaching in the Spirit of the Land Ethic, Steven Simpson

15. Lloyd B. Sharp: Trailblazer in Outdoor Education, Julie Carlson

16. Rachel Carson: Inspiring a Sense of Wonder, Karen Warren & Lorene Wapotich

17. Sigurd Olson and Paul Shepard: Experiential Education and Ancient Rhythms, Bob Henderson

Part III. Psychologists & Sociologists 

18. Emile Durkheim: Socialization and Education, Thomas E. Smith

19. Lev Vygotsky: Experiential Education - A View from the Future, Jayson Seaman & Mathew Gingo

20. Fritz Perls: Gestalt Therapy and Experiential Education, Thomas Lindblade

21. Kurt Lewin: Another Kurt for Experiential Educators to Know, Thomas E. Smith & Chris Leeming

22. Earl Kelley: Education for What is Real, Edward O. Raiola

23. Carl Rogers: A Way of Being an Experiential Educator, Thomas E. Smith

Part IV. School and Program Founders: Theory to Practice, Practice to Theory

24. Maria Montessori: Founding Mother of Experiential Education? Michael J. Swiderski

25. Cecil Reddie: Pioneering Headmaster, Robbie Nicol & Peter Higgins

26. Fridtjof Nansen: Adventure and Friluftsliv, Gunnar Repp

27. Juliette Gordon Low: Scouting and Experiential Education, Thomas E. Smith

28. Paul Petzoldt: Man of the Mountains, Tim O’Connell

29. Silvia Ashton-Warner: Teacher and Reflective Practitioner, Maureen Zarrella

30. Campbell Loughmiller: The Father of Therapeutic Camping, James Doncaster

31. Sidney B. Simon: Values Clarification Pioneer, Clifford E. Knapp

32. Eliot Wigginton: Foxfire - No Inert Ideas Allowed Here, Cynthia McDermott & Hilton Smith

33. Tricia Yu: The Tae of Experience, Gloree Rohnke

Appendix I. Deserving a Closer Look: Other Thinkers and Suggested Readings 

Appendix II. Editors' Dialogue

Appendix III. Words of Wisdom: Selected Quotations about Experiential Education

About the Editors and the Contributing Authors


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Thomas E. Smith, Founder/Director of the Raccoon Institute and Independent Psychologist/ Wilderness Guide, has taught psychology and education at colleges and universities and is a frequent presenter, consultant, and trainer at regional, national, and international conference workshops on experiential /adventure/ challenge/ outdoor education.

Clifford E. Knapp, Professor Emeritus, Northern Illinois University, has taught at all levels of education, elementary through graduate school, and is a frequent presenter at state, national, and international conferences offering workshops in experiential education and place-based education.