Deepening Secondary Students’ Understanding of Coastal Management at Labrador Park through Fieldwork, pp. 6 of 7

Conclusion and Future Research

This action research has highlighted the positive relationship between fieldwork, affective engagement and students’ understanding of coastal environments and management (Boyle et al., 2007). Fieldwork is a highly conducive platform for the facilitation of students’ affective engagement with the environment. Affective engagement has also created possibilities for deeper and critical understanding of a geography; deeper appreciation of local environments and challenges facing environmental management; and active citizenship in relation to environmental conservation. However, students also emphasized the need for personal space and time to observe the field sites prior to the activities to develop a more individualized sense of the place. Hence, the incorporation of time for free play in the fieldwork experience could be vital to allowing students to develop their personal sense and understanding of their environments. Such experiences within a typically structured school fieldwork activity sequence are potential platforms whereby students learn to see the world as a classroom that caters to their interests and needs. Through a purposefully structured fieldwork booklet in alignment with Kolb’s learning cycle, the action research has shown that this theory remains relevant to strengthening students’ abilities to construct self-knowledge. However, a more critical application of the theory requires sensitivity towards a differentiation of students’ ability and learning styles (Fielding, 1994 as cited in Healey and Jenkins, 2000). This includes, more scaffolding for lower-ability learners in terms of instruction and variety of activities. Future fieldwork research could explore the influence of  diagnostic scanning of students’ prior knowledge in relation to meeting certain desired learning outcomes and the possibilities of differentiated modes of assessment in the field (Scheyvens, Griffin, Jocoy, Liu, & Bradford, 2008; Healey & Jenkins, 2000; Pawson & Teather, 2002). Finally, it could also be useful to examine prior resources given to students about a topic to be explored during the field experience as such would also constitute as a type of scaffold to develop students’ ability to interpret phenomena through their personal lenses.

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

Newsletter Subscription

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up-to-date with new journal issues!