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Exploration of students’ perceptions of interactive and experiential field-based and class- room based pedagogies for ESD CSF Tuesday Seminar Series 16.

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Presentation on theme: "Exploration of students’ perceptions of interactive and experiential field-based and class- room based pedagogies for ESD CSF Tuesday Seminar Series 16."— Presentation transcript:

1 Exploration of students’ perceptions of interactive and experiential field-based and class- room based pedagogies for ESD CSF Tuesday Seminar Series 16 May 2006 Colin Trier and Fumiyo Kagawa with David Selby

2 Purpose of presentation Present preliminary results and analysis of the pedagogical research conducted by Colin and Fumiyo Welcome feedback and suggestions from the CSF Fellows regarding the presentation and further research opportunities

3 Research questions What is the role of experiential learning in ESD? How significant is process and context for learning in ESD?

4 Defining experiential learning 1) “... the process of actively engaging students in an authentic experience that will have benefits and consequences. Students make discoveries and experiment with knowledge themselves instead of hearing or reading about the experiences of others. Students also reflect on their experiences, thus developing new skills, new attitudes, and new theories or ways of thinking.” (Kraft & Sakofs, 1988) 2) “... the role of the educator is to facilitate the learning process with the aid of a positive learning climate, clear objective formulation, learning resources, balancing intellectual and emotional components and sharing the learning experience with the learners....”

5 Research methodology: Case study approach To capture a broad picture of student experiential based learning experiences in the School of Earth Ocean and Environmental Sciences MSc Sustainable Environmental Management field trip to Cornwall and one day workshop (October 2005) ---focus of this presentation 1st year Environmental Science field trips in Dartmoor (Autumn 2005) 3rd year Environmental Science field trip to Bristol (April 2006)

6 SEM MSc Field Trip - St Ives 10th – 12th Oct 2005 The trip involved a three day visit to West Cornwall by minibus for 9 students, 3 academic staff and 1 CSF researcher. We all stayed in the hostel in Zennor (after a booking clash at the St Ives YHA) It rained for most of the 3 days!

7 Conflicts and Opportunities in the Landscape; Itinerary Day 1 Lands End, sustainable tourism? St Ives Flood defence St Ives Tate: Art, Values and Culture; Marion Parish ‘Cultural aspects of tourism and identity’ Day 2 DEFRA - Rosecarrow hill, West Penwith. Environmentally Sensitive Areas and the Single Farm Payment. Crowlas Farm; Ben Meredith ‘Land use change and flooding at Crowlas’ Day 3 LIFE project at Goss Moor. Assessing the sustainability of major new bypass being constructed in Cornwall Eden Project – Sustainability appraisal / audit Day 4 ESD workshop at UoP

8 What were the planned learning outcomes? “The field week explores a variety of sustainability conflicts / solutions in the Southwest Peninsula region and is (part of)…EAR5101 Research Methods. This module seeks to equip students with the practical and theoretical skills required to carry out their dissertation projects through a combination of taught and field- based activities.”

9 The aim was identified before the trip as follows: “The concept of sustainable development seeks to develop more harmonious relationships between economic, social and environmental development through the creation of ecologically sensitive and inclusive policy, planning and management. In the real world, such harmony is often difficult to achieve, choices have to be made between economic, social and environmental priorities and, in many cases, there are sustainability `winners' and `losers.' The aim of the field week is to examine a selection of `real world' sustainability conflicts in the Southwest in order to explore the difficulties and prospects for arriving at acceptable and sustainable solutions.”

10 The Style and Format of the 3 days Meeting practitioners within their working context A formal introduction leading to relatively brief talk by practitioner Followed by extended student-centred discussion and activity At the end of each day a de-briefing session for shared reflection

11 St Ives on a rainy day...

12 Lands End: Sustainable Tourism?

13

14 Eden:

15

16

17 Eden: Is Ecodesign ESD?

18 Eden: discussion clarifies experience

19 One-day ESD workshop with David Selby

20 Data collection and analytical methods Semi-structured interviews with 9 MSc students immediately before and after the October trip/workshop Follow-up semi-structured interviews with 3 MSc students in February Observation notes during the group discussions in the field and the workshop Qualitative analysis--- categorization according to emerging themes

21 Personal motivations of students --before the field trip/workshop- “ I come from a place where I believe in the need for education…. I would like to do something that really makes a difference, I’ve always wanted to do that, that is why I’m doing this Masters, so that I can get a job, being able to deal with people, I really like helping people, something useful.”

22 Personal motivations of students --before the field trip/workshop- “The reason I wanted to come to Plymouth was I wanted to find a course that suited me and what I wanted to do in the future, that was basically to work in the environment business. I was particularly attracted to this course because it had a lot of different aspects to it like economics, law and science, a lot of inter-disciplinary stuff…. I’ve worked in quite a lot of different places and seen a lot of different things in a lot of developing countries, Africa and India, which made it more interesting I think to do this course. The idea really is to make a difference, that is what I want to do, that is why I have changed career paths.”

23 Students’ understanding of sustainable development --before the field trip/workshop- “…sustainability is to manage resources now so that future generations can use it and stuff. My overall thought about sustainable development to me is all about basically trying to not necessarily improve the landscape, or recreate it as it was, but to manage like, minimise the damaging effects…” “…It is about using resources without putting in jeopardy for the next generation. It is all about bio-diversity and renewable energy…” “… meeting the requirements of today without using up the resources for future generations, not to leave them in a bad situation. How we can environmentally sustain the economics of this country without using up the resources. Obviously technology is going to play a big part in finding cheaper and more efficient ways of using fuel and electricity

24 Students’ understanding of sustainable development --before the field trip/workshop- “…it is basically what the Bruntland in 1987 said about looking after our own interests today, which is intergenerational where we try to raise the standards of poorer people, but also looking to the future and how what we do today might have an impact on our future generations, like the intergenerational aspect of sustainable development. I guess the three aspects are environmental impacts, social impacts, economic impacts; we use all those three together to produce a sustainable future.”

25 Students’ understanding of sustainable development --before the field trip/workshop- “I see the idea of becoming sustainable as a bit of a goal. I don’t see it as ultimately achievable; I see it more as a development for prolonging. I have a bit of a pessimistic view. I think the global population is a bit too big, but I believe that you have to conserve and become more sustainable, we all live in such a consumer society. Basically we must ensure that there is something there for future generations, we must conserve what we have at the moment. There are beautiful things that we could lose so easily…”

26 Examples of students’ actions for sustainable development --before the field trip/workshop- Recycling/ waste reduction (7) Energy/water saving (4) Buy local/organic (3) Nature conservation (3)

27 --After the field trip/the workshop-- Changes in students’ understanding of sustainable development: “ I didn’t think it was as broad before as I think it is now… maybe I wasn’t thinking broadly enough when I started this course… sustainability for me was an environmental issue.” “Before perhaps I saw it more in terms of the environment and everything was focused on the environment and really poor people… it includes so many other things, it’s all very complicated, so much to think about in terms of sustainable development, so overwhelming, so many things involved, in everyday life as well as for the future, globally and locally, just very overwhelming.”

28 --After the field trip/the workshop-- Changes in students’ understanding of sustainable development: “ I still have a similar understanding of what it is, but there’s a lot more to it now. It’s expanded my idea on different levels and how complicated it can be to obtain sustainable development as well, and all the other different things you’ve got to take in, it’s not just your basic economic, social and environmental thing…on the ground it’s a whole different aspect and you have to take in the individual perspectives from people, because everyone’s in different situations and everyone’s got different problems so it just shows how complicated it can be when you break it down. It takes you away from just the academic and eventually into the real world, dealing with people.”

29 --After the field trip/the workshop-- Changes in students’ understanding of sustainable development: “I think what I learnt, especially from yesterday, was that people’s perceptions of sustainable development are different, multiple meanings, and in different contexts as well. They probably feel they have a different meaning. My opinion probably hasn’t changed very much but it’s been open but can be perceived in so many different ways.”

30 --After the field trip/ the workshop -- An impact “ I think my understanding of sustainable development changed slightly more especially after yesterdays workshop, I think it’s become less egocentric, less staged on economics and I appreciate more that it is about environmental sustainability as well… It’s really made me think about what I’ve known before, I feel like I’m in a big transition zone at the moment between going from what I was taught as an undergraduate, all this week I’ve been thinking what does my course really mean, what is a sustainable environmental manager and I was really thinking about that and because learning really started this week for me…”

31 What has facilitated student’s learning? -- Discussions -- “I think the talking actually, because when you have a lecture in the University you sit there and the guy talks to you and you just listen and you write, a lot of the times you’re not even listening because you’re writing it’s hard to take it all in and you don’t really get a chance to sit down and talk about it at the end, but the field trip, most of it was based around that, we’d have a talk with a farmer, then we would all gather round again and we’d talk about it and we’d exchange ideas and things we hadn’t thought about.” “It was a discussion. Everyone participated it.”

32 What has facilitated student’s learning? --interactive learning -- “I understand how important it is to move away from the teacher standing at the front. I’ve seen for myself how powerful it can be if students are involved…” “ I found [the workshop] really useful, because I’m dyslexic I learn a lot more from interactive learning. things you can do from interactive learning I thought were brilliant, some of the ideas that he brought to you were so different from what you normally think, if you’re sitting in a lecture with a hundred people you can’t ask questions, you can’t be spontaneous, you’re always listening… “I learnt a lot more than I normally would if I was sitting in a lecture and just having someone speak to me ” “it wasn’t like, you were just told stuff about a subject and then you were supposed to follow on from it not knowing maybe where to head for. You had specific objectives to go out and find out about, engaging in what we did, what we’d seen and when we spoke to”

33 What has facilitated student’s learning? --Safe learning environment -- “I’d say the interaction with everyone because even with the lecturers themselves everyone was … on the same grounding, there wasn’t a … “we’re lecturers so what we say is right” or “we’re the experts in this field”. I felt everyone was willing to listen to everyone else and hear their ideas, I was happy to say what I thought and what my ideas were…. they’re not going to laugh at you if there’s an idea you have.” “I think the most important thing is actually being able to ask questions any time, not being ashamed or anything…” “What I really enjoyed was the discussions, because very often I’m not very confident..., when expressing my opinions; actually people are interested in what I’m saying”

34 Retrospective views on the field trip --in Feb “I think it was very good and we learned a lot. The problem is because it was so good and we had a very high expectation of the whole course… a lot of discussions that we had expected did not happen throughout the whole course… “ “…course work we did based on the field trip was not integrated with the field trip… It was something we could have done regardless of whether you have been to the filed work or not… The second fieldwork [ in February] was integrated into the course more. When we got there, we knew what we were looking for… we were thinking critically since we had background information”

35 What is missing in ordinary classroom? (informal) Discussions Q: What has facilitated your learning during the field trip? “It was discussions we had. Everyone participated. Informal settings as well…” “Discussions in the lecture still in a formal context”

36 What is missing in ordinary classroom? Positive examples “I was disappointed … that everyone was so overwhelmed saying that we cannot do anything,… I think we should be shown what can be done,…so we can go out there to convince others what (needs) to be done… good case studies, not just in the UK… that is missing. A lot of things are changing and good things are happening.”

37 --in Feb “My original thinking [about sustainable development] was environmental thinking. I still prioritize it, but my understanding has developed and deepened and I have better appreciation about various strands…. You have to look at contexts as well. I am not entirely convinced with any definitions at this moment …”

38 Student websites as the assessment for the field trip Is Farming Sustainable in its Current Form? Goss Moor : An Example of Sustainable Land Management? Sustainable Tourism: Cornwall, U.K.

39 defining experiential learning 1) “... the process of actively engaging students in an authentic experience that will have benefits and consequences. Students make discoveries and experiment with knowledge themselves instead of hearing or reading about the experiences of others. Students also reflect on their experiences, thus developing new skills, new attitudes, and new theories or ways of thinking.” (Kraft & Sakofs, 1988) 2) “... the role of the educator is to facilitate the learning process with the aid of a positive learning climate, clear objective formulation, learning resources, balancing intellectual and emotional components and sharing the learning experience with the learners....”

40 Conclusions: summary A shift in the role of a lecturer from ‘an expert delivering information’ to ‘an enabler or facilitator’ i.e. accepting vulnerability; having an attitude of a learner Challenging the students’ comfort zone by giving them multiple and contradicting perspectives/opinions may be needed Creating mutual trust and safe learning environment is essential precursor

41 One preliminary interpretation of interviews Before the field trip the students’ understanding of sustainability is perhaps formulaic in repeating a learnt theoretical perspective/definition After the field trip the students express greater uncertainty, acknowledging the complexity and multi perspective nature of sustainability The experiential nature of the field trip appears to have been crucial in this transformation

42 Conclusions: Process and Context Facilitation empowering student enquiry rather than dominating with own expertise – letting go from being the centre of attention! Acknowledging power relationship share the learning experience don’t try and share their friendship circle Discussion there is a hunger for facilitated student discussion that is rarely satisfied

43 Developing Trust and Raising Expectations Be responsive experiential learning can awaken considerable enthusiasm which can lead to continued interaction afterwards – meet the challenge develop an etiquette of always acknowledging s and trying to reply to them as a priority If things just return to how they were before you may meet disappointment!

44 Further areas to be explored/ Discussion Questions How can lecturers make ‘ordinary’ lectures (with 100 students) more interactive? How can lecturers in the lectures change the hierarchical power relationship with their students so that students voices are heard? What would be the university structures which would help the students active engagement in learning? What are the true ESD agenda? Is it radical /subversive? How far do we want to push the agenda? How do we deal with the potential conflicts/ backlash (with colleagues)? If the agenda is only ‘reformist’ is that still considered as ESD?

45 Wals, A. (2005) Introduction. In Wals, A. (eds) Curriculum innovations in higher agricultural education. Hague: Elsevier Overheid. Role of teachers is to: `Facilitate learning by providing learning experiences that induce change through debate and dialogue' Teachers as `co-learners and co-investigators of the world with the students rather than for the student' Give `guidance in defining the purpose of [students'] learning' Create `a supportive and safe environment' for learning where students should `feel free to express their feelings, ideas, and opinions' Create `a student - teacher relationship' that is based on equality rather than on authority'(p.15)

46 To quote a recent sustainability document, we need a pedagogy that: Manifests a learner-centred (horizontal) dynamic as a against a teacher-centred (transmissive or vertical) dynamic Has a real issues orientation and engagement, and develops skills and understandings within real life situations Puts praxis-oriented learning (linking theory and practice) at its heart Embraces affective and skills-related objectives as well as cognitive objectives Enables students to listen to the voice of the marginalized (those harmed by unsustainable modes of living and relating). (Ref: UoP MLS documentation, 2006)

47 and more from Wals " Issues of sustainability and integrated rural development involve ethical questions, for instance, regarding the injustice and inequity in sharing the use of the world's natural resources. We do not have clear answers to many of these ethical and moral questions and should not pretend that we do, but we do know that we can not begin to find the answers without also looking at issues of development, peace and conflict, and human rights ( not to mention the rights of other species)"(p16)

48 Haigh. M. (2005) Greening the university curriculum: Appraising an international movement. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 29(1) According to Canada's University Presidents (NETEE, 1966) the way ahead is "to involve students directly and actively in problem-based learning and practical work - fieldwork, placements in the community, group-work, etc." (p.38) "Unfortunately, evaluation of the internal problems within HEIs suggests that their ability to transform themselves to address the ESD agenda by curriculum greening is limited by their internal structures..." (p.44)

49 J. CURRICULUM STUDIES, 2006, VOL. 38, NO. 1, 67–83 Implementing curriculum guidance on environmental education: the importance of teachers’ beliefs. D. R. E. COTTON “…any attempt to introduce a more radical environmental agenda … by making changes to the curriculum will not succeed unless teachers can be convinced that it is desirable…(furthermore) unless curriculum developers take account of teachers’ beliefs in designing new curriculum materials, these materials are unlikely to be implemented in their intended format...”


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