Co-Instructing on Extended Wilderness Expeditions: A Phenomenological Inquiry


  • Franklin Vernon Indiana University - Bloomington
  • Jayson Seaman University of New Hampshire


co-leadership, co-instructing, phenomenology, qualitative research, outdoor adventure education


The practice of co-instructing in North American outdoor adventure education programs, although ubiquitous, has received minimal research attention. Instead, leadership and instruction are discussed primarily as individual practices and as a matter of enacting institutionally prescribed skills, judgments, and responsibilities. Likewise, instructors' lived experiences are infrequently represented in outdoor adventure education literature, perhaps stemming from an emphasis on “ideal†leadership qualities and roles in the research and training literature. The qualitative study reported in this article attended to the experiences of program co-instructors as well as the phenomenon of co-instruction. Phenomenological analysis revealed co-instructing among these participants as essentially a negotiated relationship constituted by themes of living work, the dilemma of the super-instructor, sizing up, and relational resolutions, through which staff interpreted both professional and personal meaning. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.



Regular Papers