Dr Chris Eastabrook

Man with mosquito headnet pointing at another man without headnet

Chris Eastabrook is the Head of Centre at Bryntysilio Adventure Education Centre, a wilderness canoeist and an experienced paddlesport coach. Chris has worked across the globe teaching predominately white-water kayaking, coach and leader education and, more recently, in higher and secondary adventure education.

Exploration of how to prepare learners for independence in adventure sports led him to undertake his doctorate and the focus of his presentation at the GBS.

Chris states “Adventure Sport national governing bodies are quite good at teaching the nuts and bolts of how to go climbing or kayaking but how to develop a learner effectively to undertake their own adventures is less well discussed.”

Seeking insight into how practitioners teach to this end forms his PhD thesis, consisting of two parts. First, gaining clarity over what is meant by independence in adventure and how this conceptualisation fits within the provision of coaching programmes. Second, how high-level, experienced coaches taught for independence and its perceived impact on the learners. Chris’ presentation will share insight from his observations with implications for practitioners highlighted throughout.

Chris’ professional bushcraft instructional experience is predominately teaching secondary school-aged students, regular day-long lessons as part of a wider eight-year adventure education programme. These bushcraft ‘lessons’ aimed to foster a sense of connection to the natural world and to tune into a slower pace of life helping to safeguard the student’s mental & physical well-being. Equally, skill development in basic bushcraft techniques over a longer period of time aids the students’ sense of confidence and self-esteem.

Chris has a real passion for multi-day canoe tripping in the wilds of Canada, the highlight of which was the completion of the 28-day trip on the Seal River in Northern Manitoba. The team encountered polar bears, class IV white water, Dutch oven pizza and much hilarity. Here Chris’ passion for bushcraft can be found, tripping in pristine wilderness with good company in challenging conditions.

Chris lives in Llangollen in North Wales, never far from the River Dee, with further responsibility for an active five-year-old and an emotionally distant ginger cat.

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