Deepening Secondary Students’ Understanding of Coastal Management at Labrador Park through Fieldwork, pp. 4 of 7

From both students’ responses, it can be inferred that they have some idea that hard engineering is needed to protect Singapore’s coasts and that they have made attempts to conceptualise their observations at Labrador Park. Student 1 connected his observations of coastal features such as the presence of vegetation to that of coastal processes, the possibility of sediment removal due to coastal erosion. The students also made connections between personal responsibility, the environment, and society if the coast is not well-managed. Student 1’s reflection showed an appreciation for nature’s beauty and this has been translated into a personal conviction about the need for environmental conservation in Singapore. Fieldwork also exposes students to the complex processes that shape environments, enabling them to realise that environments are managed spaces and this reflects the important role that humans have/have not played (Hmelo, Duncan, & Chinn, 2007). In response to a follow-up question on the challenges for the Singapore government to protect other coastal areas of Singapore, Student 1 commented:

I think a challenge is to get the cooperation of people, I think, a very good example, is fishing, and…to stop fishing. There is actually a sign like the government say “don’t litter” but [people] litter. [These people] must have the mind, erm everyone must have the consciousness that protecting coasts, it will work, because not just one-sided but also people protecting together.

For Student 1 at least, the field experience has provided experiential platforms for students to be affectively engaged with the environment and develop critical perspectives about the challenges of coastal management at the individual, community and national scales (Dummer, Cook, Parker, Barrett, & Hull, 2008). Student 1’s response also indicated that direct experience enabled him to develop a greater awareness of the complexities and dynamism of decision making in the management of environments. 

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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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