How High’s the Water, Mama? A Reflection on Water Resource Education in Singapore, pp. 15 of 33

Signature Pedagogies – The Current Trends

Shulman (2005) suggested that signature pedagogy involved professional training which addresses ways of thinking and practices central to the profession and which often is provided through apprenticeship. We promote two signature pedagogies in the Geography programme, one that builds on the tradition of fieldwork in geography and the other which is newly emerged, the Sustainability Learning Lab. Both focus on what it means to be a geographer and provide our students with experience in “how geographers think”, with the goal of promoting thinking skills.

Fieldwork in the Geography Programme

Most of the research related to fieldwork suggests that the benefits to students’ learning occur in the cognitive and affective domains. Within the cognitive domain, researchers have found that fieldwork brings students into real world settings and situations which contextualise and render visible the abstract, theoretical material taught in the classroom through experiential learning (Dummer et al., 2008; Mcguinness and Simm, 2005). Smith’s (1999) survey showed that teachers agreed that fieldwork was important to allow students to comprehend concepts learned in the classroom. Other researchers also confirm teachers’ positive perceptions of fieldwork as a learning tool (Fletcher and Dodds, 2004; Fuller et al, 2006; Scott et al., 2006). Fieldwork effectively conjoins cognitive processes with affective learning with the former directly and the latter indirectly affecting student learning outcomes (Kern and Carpenter, 1984; Smith, 1999; Boyle et al., 2007). For instance, McKenzie and White (1982) showed that active geographical fieldwork had positive impacts on long-term memory structures compared with passive fieldwork or no fieldwork because of “key episodes” - active and colourful events that have structural links to cognition, and which produce deep learning (Herrick, 2010). Harvey (1991, p. ii) pointed to fieldwork’s value within the purely affective domain as well, “producing self and subject motivation through inter-alia novelty or milieu self-concept enhancement, productive role-modelling and changing students’ scripts for learning”.

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!