LETTERS: It's all about participation, not winning

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The Independent Online
From Mr Ian Fothergill Sir: Barrie Clement's article, "Adventure courses `dent egos'" (4 January) reports on the research findings of Adrian Ibbetson and Sue Newall on the psychological effects of competitive Adventure-Based, Experimental Learning courses.

Ibbetson and Newall's research has an interesting, if self-evident, conclusion. Unsurprisingly, winners had very positive reactions to the training while the losers had negative feelings about it.

Outward Bound corporate courses do not focus an inter-team competition because it negates the whole purpose of outdoor management development based on the ethos of Kurt Hahn, the father of the experiential learning philosophy and the co-founder of Outward Bound.

"We are all better than we know. If only we can be brought to realise this, we may never settle for anything less."

The whole point is that everyone is a winner. It is the learning that is important, whether the task is successfully completed or not. Teamwork is people working together.

The principle is personal and team development through a greater understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the individual and others through a shared task experience. Competition destroys the Kurt Hahn principle.

We don't believe in denting the ego of losers because we don't believe in a competitive focus. We believe in developing each individual participant and every participant is a winner.

Yours faithfully, IAN L. FOTHERGILL Director Outward Bound Trust Rugby Warwickshire 5 January

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