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Happier children

- we all want!

Here is an excerpt from the bachelor thesis "Outdoor life for better family life - Nature as a framework for pedagogical work with socially disadvantaged families", to give some insight into the thoughts behind the pedagogy we are in favor of and how it works ...

Flow and work with quality of life and happiness

Quality of life pedagogy focuses on the interplay between happiness, enjoyment, learning and development. When adults and children experience flow, they can be further motivated in the process for well-being, development and learning.

Psychology professor Csikszentmihalyi's flow theory illuminates enjoyment, and especially in the pedagogical practice of nature, the flow theory is applicable, as the cultivation of and awareness of life unfoldment, where one forgets oneself, can create development, learning and well-being. Creating the opportunity for flow experience in nature is therefore obvious as a shortcut to feeling happy.

Happiness is related to how we act and think. The feeling of happiness can also contain a social aspect, so that by doing something for another human being we can achieve happiness. In this way, the feeling of happiness is connected with interpersonality, cf. Kajandi.

Possibly the experience of happiness here is related to doing something for others or forgetting oneself for the benefit of others.

However, an educational activity in nature cannot be planned, so it is certain that those involved experience happiness and flow. It depends on the subjective terms. But the educator can prioritize activities that, from experience, allow for the experience of enjoyment and happiness.

Here it is important to gather experience from the specific activities that can take place in a specific geographical area in relation to the relevant target group. Similarly, it is important to focus on activities that do not challenge participants unnecessarily if they are not used to being outdoors. Happiness can be experienced in connection with positive busyness, understood in the sense that we can be busy with something, so that we forget time and place, and thereby experience flow. However, a negative bustle can occur if the driving force is anxiety or insecurity. It can create inner turmoil or make participants stressed.

Organization of nature experiences and Flow

In the flow experience, it is thus a matter of desire for action and immersion go together in a higher unit, so that one achieves a state of sharpened attention and thereby forgets oneself, one's surroundings and time and place. In the organization of activities, it is important to take into account that the flow state is an immersion, where the degree of difficulty of the activity is aligned with the individual's level, see the figure.
Csikszentmihalyi defines eight characteristics of an enjoyment and flow experience (Clausen 2010):

  1. The experience of enjoyment occurs when you are faced with a task that you can complete

  2. One must be able to concentrate on what one is doing

  3. One concentrates because the task has clear goals and provides instant feedback

  4. One acts with deep commitment so that it removes frustrations from the consciousness

  5. Enjoyable experiences give people some control over their own actions

  6. Worries disappear for the self

  7. The self is experienced more strongly when the flow experience is over

  8. The sense of time changes

Source: Clausen, Sigrid Brogaard and Clausen, Peter: Pedagogy and quality of life, 1st edition, 1st edition. 2010 Hans Reitzels Forlag.

Sværhedsgraden af aktiviteten skal være afstemt med individets niveau for at fremme flow-tilstanden (Clausen 2010 s. 53)

The degree of difficulty of the activity must be in line with the individual's level to promote the flow state (Clausen 2010 p. 53)

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