Deepening Secondary Students’ Understanding of Coastal Management at Labrador Park through Fieldwork, pp. 3 of 7

Understanding by Design framework

We utilized Wiggins and McTighe’s (2005) definition of understanding to delineate the scope of our research. The authors defined understanding as “a transferable, big idea having enduring value beyond a specific topic” (p. 128) which is “best acquired by “uncovering” and “doing” (p. 129). Understanding has also been defined by the authors to encompass six distinct areas: (1) explanation; (2) interpretation; (3) application; (4) perspective; (5) empathy; (6) self-knowledge. Of these six areas, explanation and empathy were chosen as key areas of focus for the research. Explanation is defined as providing “knowledgeable and justified accounts of events, actions and ideas,” and empathy is defined as “[one’s] ability to get inside another person’s feelings and worldview” (pp. 85 & 98).

Discussion of Students’ Responses

affective engagement

The students were asked about the links between their observations of coastal management strategies. Two students spoke about the vulnerability of coastal environments; purpose of seawalls and the nature of waves:

Student 1: To protect the coast maybe from certain retreating inland. I think the seawalls …and then planting trees along coasts. If you go parks, you’ll see like historical landmarks…introduce to us to young people what they do to protect the coasts, seawalls, signs… In school, when we say protect the environment (but when do we see it?)…we can actually appreciate the beauty of nature, we can actually cherish it, protect, try to protect and conserve it and you actually know the impact…and how we affect each other, nature and us.

Student 3: Yes, we need to have coastal protection and coastal management like no fishing. There must be seawalls.

Related Teaching Materials

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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