Educational Philosophy Posts

Educational philosophy is at the core of the Jack Mountain Bushcraft Blog. Posts are about teaching and learning bushcraft, as well as the woods life in general.

I was up early this morning tweaking menus for our upcoming trips on the Aroostook and Bonaventure rivers before we start our instructional day here at the field school. It’s not the glamorous side of guiding expeditions, but planning and provisioning are crucial parts of having a trip work at all, let alone smoothly. The [...]

On our long-term semester and expedition programs, we live and work together in close quarters for an extended period of time. Our goal is for individuals to learn and excel at hard skills, but without a plan and systems regarding how to live and work together, successful outcomes are harder to achieve. Working as a [...]

One of the great things about long courses is the ability to see the natural shifts as they happen. Currently, we’re in the midst of the final thaw up here, and that’s indicated by the usual influx of birds, amphibians waking up and plants starting to flower. A large portion of our curriculum at Jack [...]

Through adversity comes growth. So far this spring, mother nature has provided great opportunities for growth. The first few weeks of our spring Wilderness Bushcraft Semester are the hardest few weeks of our calendar year. The snows are still deep, the streams are swollen, and getting around can be very difficult on deep, slushy snow [...]

As the next semester gets closer, we’ve been really putting the screws to the “self” aspect of our courses. Whether it’s “mental toughness” or being able to assess your progress without outside input. These aspects are helpful to the individual student. However, on a long course like one of our nine-week semesters, nobody can successfully play [...]

Our long-term programs are mentally and emotionally challenging. We want people who attend to be aware of this, and to have the mental and emotional fortitude and maturity needed to be successful here. But this sounds like a platitude you’ve heard before, so let me explain a bit further. People attending our programs want and [...]

  At it’s simplest “Active learning” is learning by doing. On our semesters, student’s make their own canoe paddles, and that’s their first big woodcarving project. They have a basic set of tools and simple instructions on how to shape a paddle from a pine board. A lot of student’s struggle at first with what [...]

I have had the good fortune to learn from and call friend many of the titans of bushcraft and wilderness guiding. Knowing and learning from them has had a huge impact on my life and career. I won’t name names, but I don’t have to; if you’re reading this you probably already know half of [...]

People who write books or teach usually base their writing or instruction on one of three sources: Imagination: They write or teach what they imagine something to be like. Purely hypothetical. Research: They interview others in person or via what they’re written, and then draw conclusions from other’s experience. They don’t have the experience themselves. [...]

The people we work with want to get better. Better at poling a canoe in whitewater, better at lighting fires by friction, better at using an axe efficiently, etc. During our programs we work with them daily to achieve this. But training skills and abilities are only half of the equation; the other half is [...]

I am sitting in my tent home tonight struggling to figure out how to start this essay on adventure travel, more specifically one aspect that…shucks, lost it again.  The problem is I am picking through a gorpy mix of nuts and fruit and these bizarre white coated black bean things than I’m not sure if [...]

To learn new things is challenging. When you stay inside your comfort zone, not being challenged, you’re probably not learning new things. This is fine if you want to refine things you already know, but to blaze new ground demands that you be outside of where you feel 100% safe. In the photo above, participants [...]

During the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester, we want people to learn how to plan food and meals for an extended trip, starting with themselves and finishing with planning for a group. We also want them to learn how much water water they need on any given day in order to feel good and have their body [...]

I read some advice about choosing the right axe recently. I want to make a statement about choosing the wrong axe, or at least the closest axe. I’ve met young people who couldn’t afford a high-end axe and felt that their skills wouldn’t develop until they could. It’s not true. The path to axe mastery [...]

Being a lifelong learner, I’m of the belief that wherever you’re at, there is always room for improvement. Leading up to our 35th long-term course this spring, I’ve been seeking out additional training in order to become a better instructor. It’s been an immensely enjoyable experience. In early March I spent a weekend at Amherst Archery [...]

The modern world we live in is a thin veneer stretched over the raw circumstance of our human condition. Countless interconnected pieces give us things like central heating, the internet, smartphones, tax forms, and countless other modern realities. Despite its many benefits, the veneer insulates us from the experience of life our forefathers knew. While [...]

Two quick stories. One. Last week I went to see a movie with my dad at a classic old fashioned and equally rural theater in northern Wisconsin. The day was a mix of heavy wet snow, sleet and temperatures probably near thirty, this is all vital info, trust me. When we sat down there looked [...]

A bunch of years back I gave a presentation on sustainability in outdoor education at the Wilderness Educators Association conference (Read our paper here: https://www.outdoored.com/articles/asap-20-sustainable-possible). Our small group was proposing a model to help improve and correct some of the environmental problems inherent with most modern outdoor pursuits (think burning white gas for camp stoves) while also harpooning [...]

As winter winds on and the snow piles up outside the windows of my small cabin, it is easy to appreciate the wonder of the natural world.  There is the ruffed grouse that scurries around the perimeter of my clearing, hiding in the shadows of the cedar and fir trees.  A red squirrel has taken [...]

A goal I’ve set for myself this year is to be mindful and grateful for what I’ve done and what I’ve got. My plan for doing so is to avoid hedonic adaptation. I first heard of this term in the book A Guide To The Good Life: The Ancient Art Of Stoic Joy (great read, [...]

“I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.” I’ve heard this idea communicated in many ways over the years, am tired of hearing it, and am weary of it being used as an excuse to bring too much stuff on the trail. Countless times over my 17 year career [...]

They’re trickling in from far and wide. England arrived yesterday. Texas and Chicago tomorrow. Ohio, Connecticut and California on Thursday. New Hampshire is ready to go. Alberta and Montreal are meeting us on the road. In two days our small group (on the Jack Mountain calendar as the Subarctic Snowshoe Expedition With The Cree) is [...]

It’s easy to make something that looks like a bucksaw frame, but it’s much more difficult to make one that will cut a lot of wood without coming apart. It’s easy to make something that looks like a snowshoe, but much more difficult to make one that will allow you to walk on it all [...]

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time playing street hockey during the warm seasons and pond hockey during the frozen one. As we were in New Hampshire, we all wanted to be players from the Boston Bruins. My brother would usually pretend he was Bobby Orr. I always liked the scrappy [...]

During the Wilderness Bushcraft Semester we do two-night solos where participants head into the forest alone with very minimal kit. For many people it isn’t easy to unplug from the modern world and be alone with themselves. We can get so distracted with life, the internet and everything that our minds are almost never where [...]

Yesterday I was part of a conversation led by a man who runs a small academic program for homeschoolers. He was talking about the modern fascination with being able to measure learning when he mentioned that problem solving is not as important as problem finding. This got me thinking. Modern education puts a high value [...]

Humans are social animals. Put two of us together and we’ll talk and talk, even if there’s nothing useful to say. I believe a small part of this is human nature. We’re social animals, and verbal communication is a foundational principle of how we organize in groups. But I think the vast majority of this [...]

There is a difference between knowing something for yourself versus having read it or heard it. That difference is characterized by experience and results, not faith and information. During the early weeks of the fall Wilderness Bushcraft Semester we do a lot of work with plants. As we traverse the landscape of Aroostook County, we [...]

Learning something new demands more action than details. More often than not, excessive details and information get in the way more than they help during the initial steps. In my opinion, only the minimum amount of information that leads to a successful outcome should be provided the first time someone learns something new or completes [...]

Over the past few months I’ve seen numerous blogs offering tips and tricks on bushcraft and survival. But tips and tricks will never take the place of practiced fundamentals; learning the correct technique, then doing it until it is second nature. The seemingly inexhaustible human desire for shortcuts keeps the search alive, but don’t be [...]

 


 

Web Sites
· JMB Field School – Long-Term Immersion: Semester & Expedition Programs. GI Bill & College Credit.
· Classic Wilderness Guiding – Canoe, Snowshoe & Sea Kayak Trips
· JMB Folk School – Lodge-Based Programs & Short Courses
· School Of The Forest – Teen & Youth Programs
· BushcraftSchool.com – Online & Distance Learning
· JMBS Master Calendar – All Scheduled Programs

Typos, Etc.
Note: Anything that appears to be an error in spelling or grammar is actually the author’s clever use of the vernacular, and as such is not an error, but rather a carefully placed literary device demonstrating prodigious artistic prowess.

RSS
Facebook
Facebook
Google+
Google+
http://blog.jackmtn.com/category/educational-philosophy
YouTube
YouTube
Instagram

Email List
Join our email list; it’s the best way to keep up with what we’re up to. We promise to never fill your inbox with junk and we never share or sell your information. We value your time and privacy. We won’t abuse either of them. More Info.


Featured In:
Jack Mountain Bushcraft Media Appearances Image

Life Member – MPGA
mpga graphic
Life Member – MWGO
mwgo graphic
1 2 3