How does it feel? The affective domain and undergraduate student perception of fieldwork set in a broad pedagogical perspective

Tiernan Henry, John Murray

Abstract


Fieldwork in the earth sciences is much valued by students, teachers and prospective employers alike, yet it has been reduced as a component of many undergraduate programmes in recent times. This study presents the results of an investigation of the undergraduate student perception of fieldwork, specifically in the context of the affective domain, and considers the effectiveness of field-based training as a pedagogical tool. Fieldwork provides the learner with a deep and immersive learning environment, where they are required to apply knowledge and theory acquired in class to the natural world, and to then analyse its validity. Strong spatial and temporal reasoning skills are routinely employed, and construction of maps is central to the learning experience, as it requires students to carefully observe their surroundings and make informed and reasoned decisions as to what is important and truly necessary to document. As part of this study students from a single higher education institution in Ireland were provided with anonymous questionnaires and polled for their opinions prior to and following a phase of residential fieldwork. The results clearly show an appreciation of not just the cognitive benefits, but also the transferable, technical and social skills developed and improved through their varied first-hand real world fieldwork experiences. These findings are much in keeping with those of previous studies. Overall, the student study group demonstrated enhanced affective domain responses to residential fieldwork: a recurring theme in the responses was recognition of the importance and value of sound observation and scientific rigor. These skills could subsequently be applied to many other areas of student learning, thus helping them to consolidate and integrate their knowledge base. The capacity of field training to transform the way students think was very evident – they became knowledge generators rather than just knowledge recipients.

Received: 21 March 2018
Accepted: 08 May 2018
Published online: 31 May 2018


Keywords


affective domain; fieldwork; geoscience; geology; pedagogy; situated learning

Full Text:

[PDF] [HTML]

References


Bloom, Benjamin S. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals. New York: David McKay Company, 1965.

Boyle, Alan, Sarah Maguire, Adrian Martin, Clare Milsom, Rhu Nash, Steve Rawlinson, Andrew Turner, Sheena Wurthmann, and Stacey Conchie. “Fieldwork is Good: the Student Perception and the Affective Domain.” Journal of Geography in Higher Education Education 31, no. 2 (2007): 299-317. https://doi.org/10.1080/03098260601063628.

Brotton, Jeremy. A History of the World in Twelve Maps. London: Penguin Books, 2012.

Brown, John S., Allan Collins, and Paul Duguid. “Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning.” Educational Researcher 18, no. 1 (January 1989): 32-42. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X018001032.

Burt, Tim P., and Jeff J. McDonnell. “Whither field hydrology? The need for discovery science and outrageous hydrological hypotheses.” Water Resource Research 51 (August 2015): 5919-5928. https://doi.org/10.1002/2014WR016839.

Coghlan, David, and Teresa Brannick. Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization, 4th Ed. London: SAGE Publications, 2014.

Cosgrove, Denis, and Stephen Daniels. “Fieldwork as theatre – a week’s performance in Venice and its region.” Journal of Geography in Higher Education 13, no. 2 (1989): 169-183. https://doi.org/10.1080/03098268908709082.

de Loë, Rob C., Derek Armitage, Ryan Plummer, Seanna Davidson, and Lianna Moraru. From Government to Governance: A State-of-the-Art Review of Environmental Governance. Final Report. Prepared for Alberta Environment, Environmental Stewardship, Environmental Relations. Guelph, ON: Rob de Loë Consulting Services, 2009.

Frodeman, Robert. “Geological reasoning: Geology as an interpretive and historical science.” Geological Society of America Bulletin 107, no. 8 (August 1995): 960- 968. https://doi.org/10.1130/0016-7606.

Fuller, Ian, Sally Edmonson, Derek France, David Higgitt, and Ilkka Ratinen. “International Perspectives on the Effectiveness of Geography Fieldwork for Learning.” Journal of Geography in Higher Education 30, no. 1 (2006): 89-101. https://doi.org/10.1080/03098260500499667.

Goodwin, Charles. “Professional vision.” American Anthropologist 96 (1994): 606-633.

Humphrey, Caroline. “Dilemmas in doing insider research in professional education.” Qualitative Social Work 12, no. 5 (September 2013): 572-586. https://doi.org/10.1177/1473325012446006.

Hutchins, Edwin. Cognition in the Wild. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1995.

Ingold, Tim. The Perception of the Environment: Essays in Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill. London: Routledge, 2000.

Kahu, Ella R. and Karen Nelson. “Student engagement in the educational interface: understanding the mechanisms of student success.” Higher Education Research & Development 37, no. 1 (Spring 2018): 58-71. https://doi.org/10.1080/072943 60.2017.1344197.

Kastens, Kim, Cathryn Manduca, Cinzia Cervato, Robert Frodeman, Charles Goodwin, Lynn S. Liben, David W. Mogk, Timothy C. Spangler, Neil A. Stillings, and Sarah Titus. “How geoscientists think and learn.” EOS Transactions American Geophysical Union 90, no. 31 (August 2009): 265-272. https://doi.org/10.1029/2009EO310001.

Kern, Edwin and Jane Carpenter. “Effect of field activities on student learning.” Journal of Geological Education 34, no. 3 (1986): 180-183.

Kolb, David A. Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1984.

Krathwohl, David R., Benjamin S. Bloom, and Bertram B. Masia. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives; the Classification of Educational Goals. Handbook II: Affective Domain. New York: David McKay Company, 1973.

Lancellotti, Matthew, Sunil Thomas, and Chiranjeev Kohli. “Online video modules for improvement in student learning.” Journal of Education for Business 91, no. 1 (Spring 2016): 19-22. https://doi.org/10.1080/08832323.2015.1108281.

Manduca, Cathryn A., and Kim A. Kastens. “Geoscience and geoscientists: uniquely equipped to study Earth.” In Earth and minds: A synthesis of research on thinking and learning in the geosciences: Geological Society of America Special Papers 486, edited by Cathryn A. Manduca and Kim A. Kastens. Boulder, CO: Geological Society of America, 2012.

Maskall, John and Alison Stokes. Designing Effective Fieldwork for the Environmental and Natural Sciences. Geography, Environmental & Earth Sciences Subject Centre, Learning & Teaching Guide. York: Higher Education Academy, 2008. http://www.gees.ac.uk/pubs/guides/fw2/GEESfwGuide.pdf.

Millar, Murray G., and Karen U. Millar. “The effects of direct and indirect experience on affective and cognitive responses and the attitude-behaviour relation.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 32, no. 6 (November 1996): 561- 579. https://doi.org/10.1006/jesp.1996.0025.

Mogk, David W., and Charles Goodwin. “Learning in the field: synthesis of research on thinking and learning in the geosciences.” In Earth and minds: A synthesis of research on thinking and learning in the geosciences: Geological Society of America Special Papers 486, edited by Cathryn A. Manduca and Kim A. Kastens. Boulder, CO: Geological Society of America, 2012.

Moore-Cherry, Niamh, Ruth Healey, Dawn T. Nicholson, and Will Andrews. “Inclusive partnership: enhancing student engagement in geography.” Journal of Geography in Higher Education 40, no. 1 (Spring 2016): 84-103. https://doi.org/10.1080/03098265.2015.1066316.

Murray, John, Tiernan Henry, Martin White, and Shane Tyrrell. “Fieldwork in the context of Earth & Ocean Science training.” Discover, Explore, Create: 12th Galway Symposium on Higher Education, June 6, 2014. Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching, NUIG.

Pessoa, Luiz. “On the relationship between cognition and emotion.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9 (February 2008): 148-158. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn2317.

Petcovic, Heather L., Alison Stokes, and Joshua L. Caulkins. “Geoscientists’ perceptions of the value of undergraduate field education.” GSA Today 24, no. 7 (July 2014): 4-10. https://doi.org/10.1130/GSATG196A.1.

Pratt, Wallace. (1952). “Towards a philosophy of oil finding.” Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists 36, no. 12 (1952): 2231-2236.

Stoddart, David. On Geography. Oxford: Blackwell, 1986.

Stokes, Alison, and Alan Boyle. “The undergraduate geoscience fieldwork experience: Influencing factors and implications for learning.” In Field Geology Education – Historical Perspectives and Modern Approaches: Geological Society of America Special Paper 461, edited by Steven J. Whitmeyer, David W. Mogk, and Eric J. Pyle. Boulder, CO: Geological Society of America, 2009.

Storbeck, Justin, and Gerald L. Clore. “On the interdependence of cognition and emotion.” Cognition and Emotion 21, no. 6 (Autumn 2007): 1212-1237. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699930701438020.

Turner, Yvonne. “Last orders for the lecture theatre? Exploring blended learning approaches and accessibility for full-time international students.” The International Journal of Management Education 13, no 2 (July 2015): 163-169. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijme.2015.04.001.

Wenger, Etienne. Communities of Practice. Learning, meaning and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Whitmeyer, Steven J., Martin Feely, Tiernan Henry, Eric J. Pyle, Steve J. Baedke, L. Scott Eaton, John T. Haynes, Elizabeth A. Johnson, Stephen A. Leslie, and Christine L. May. “Why Ireland? Analyzing an international field experience on its tenth anniversary.” Paper No. 275-9. GSA Annual Meeting, Vancouver, British Columbia, 19-22 October, 2014.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18543/tjhe-5(2)-2018pp45-74

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.