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Student-led learning and engagement with place on international fieldwork Alan Marvell 1, David Simm 2 and Rebecca Schaaf 2 1 University of Gloucestershire,

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Presentation on theme: "Student-led learning and engagement with place on international fieldwork Alan Marvell 1, David Simm 2 and Rebecca Schaaf 2 1 University of Gloucestershire,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Student-led learning and engagement with place on international fieldwork Alan Marvell 1, David Simm 2 and Rebecca Schaaf 2 1 University of Gloucestershire, 2 Bath Spa University Friday 1 st July 2011 Macdonald Burlington Hotel, Birmingham

2 Rationale for fieldwork: Central tenet of the discipline (Haigh and Gold, 1993) Tool for student deep learning (Hill and Woodland, 2002) Immersion in-the-field cannot be easily replicated e.g. by virtual fieldwork (Coe and Smyth, 2010) Applying theory to reality (Fuller et al., 2006) Develops group and team work skills Importance of place: Fieldwork: why gain a sense of place? Place is … a way of seeing, knowing and understanding the world. When we look at the world as a world of places we see different things. We see attachments and connections between people and place (Cresswell, 2004, p. 11)

3 1. Mobile methodologies - walking and talking as a journey rather than stops (Coe and Smyth, 2010) Negotiating familiarity and otherness (Smith, 2006) Immersion in place Comparing familiar with unfamiliar (e.g. della Dora, 2011, Bristol versus Barcelona sacred spaces) Communicating to others through storytelling or visual aids, e.g. posters (Saunders, 2010), photographs (Sidaway, 2002), podcasts (Jarvis and Dickie, 2010). 2. Active learning – learning by doing, e.g. field activities 3. Student-led learning – tour guides (Coe and Smyth, 2010), students learn from each other 4. Self-reflection, e.g. field diaries (McGuinness and Simm, 2005; Dummer et al., 2008). L&T strategies for gaining a sense of place

4 Characteristics of student-led learning (Coe and Smyth, 2010): active learning and interactive teaching deep learning and understanding ethos of shared learning building knowledge rather than as an end product increased responsibility and accountability for students own (and others) learning increased sense of autonomy in the learner interdependence between teacher and learner mutual respect within the learner-teacher relationship reflective approach Student-led field teaching: Teaching in situ where students present materials to other students (Marvell, 2008) Overcomes students as passive recipients Students as learning partners (Coe and Smyth, 2010) Empowerment Higher-level transferable skills Applying student-led learning to fieldwork

5 International Fieldwork – Barcelona, Spain Year 3 optional module at BSU Geography and Tourism Management undergraduates Aims and objectives: attain a geographical sense of place actively involved in logistical planning each group delivers a student-led field presentation and field activity conduct independent and advanced research teamwork and project management skills confidence and ability to cope with unfamiliar environments critical self-appraisal of field experience and performance Background to the module

6 Structure: Lectures and workshops before fieldtrip 5-day fieldtrip to Barcelona: 1.5 days staff-led, 0.5 day reconnaissance, 2 days student-led 30 students, 6 groups of 5 students Assessment: Group pre-placement project reportPass/Fail Group field presentation and activity 40% Field notebook and self-reflective essay20% Essay: Transformation of Barcelona40% Background to the module

7 Aims and objectives: To study students experiences of student-led field teaching To identify the ways in which students engage with the field environment To evaluate the L&T strategies used (student presentations and activities) in getting students to engage with place Methodology Daily reflective question set End-of-fieldtrip reflective essay Post-fieldtrip questionnaire Module evaluation Findings 1.Students learning experiences as revealed by diaries and questionnaires 2.Evaluate the extent to which students engage with place 3.How student engagement translates into assessment Project aims and objectives

8 Recognition of skills: Didnt feel very confident in leading the presentation but appreciated doing it because of the key skills learned. Informality: The student-led sessions seemed less formal and so I felt more relaxed in a learning environment. Accessibility: I felt student-led teaching taught me more about place as the students used language similar to me. Responsibility: I felt responsible for the learning of my peers when I was leading. Mutual respect: Being led by peers made me pay more attention as I would want respect from them in my presentation. Student experiences of field talks and activities

9 Empowerment: Being led, I became an active learner and realised how beneficial being in control of my own learning was for personal development. Putting students in charge of tours is a great tool for learning as I feel it creates great enthusiasm for learning. Active learning: Ive also learned from watching other groups presenting … from the way they presented and dealt with different environments. Student experiences of field talks and activities

10 Group dynamics: Disappointed with the fifth member of the groups presenting skills as he is very loud and outspoken usually, however acted shy in the field. Distractions: Bad weather made people unhappy and cold and wet which meant their concentration levels were low. Some peoples presentations were barely audible, which is frustrating. Found it quite hard to keep concentrating when presenting as it sometimes felt that people werent taking notes so perhaps more interactive learning is needed. Varied itinerary: The activities were successful in breaking up long speeches and tiring note taking. Student experiences of field talks and activities

11 Value of being in situ: In situ, students experienced a unique, multi-sensory experience of a place … From this experience, I can say active participation in situ is something that cannot be simulated easily in the classroom. Passing through – not engaging in transit between sites. Limited view of place: Sites chosen to deliver the presentations were carefully thought out to provide a relatively safe environment, away from traffic and large numbers of people. Student experiences: Engaging with place

12 Sense of place: It is strange that places so close together can be so different. Barcelonas sense of place is very varied due to the different districts within the city. Personalised impressions: We were warned of pickpockets … I was suspicious of EVERYONE. Emotional interaction with environment: When participating in a field activity … I found myself becoming far more involved and emotionally attached than I would in a lecture. Student experiences: Engaging with place

13 A sense of place is created by a number of things such as amenities, historical influences, cultural aspects, community, atmosphere, and others … I would define place as the atmosphere and feeling a location provides through the influences it celebrates and draws upon. Place … represents an area which has social meaning. This sense of meaning that people have differentiates space from place, and include social, economic and environmental issues. I cannot stress the importance of people in defining a sense of place … their lives, legacies, cultures, languages and beliefs … are all stories that they leave behind. Some peoples sense of place is underdeveloped as they may find it difficult to connect with their emotions. Because of this they cannot relate a place with personal feelings. Students definitions: gaining a sense of place

14 Students dont feel short-changed by student-led teaching Students recognise they are acquiring other skills Marking criteria must be appropriate to the format of assessment Value of self-reflection – importance of depth of reflection Recommendations: (i)Design activity in situ – more experiential fieldtrip to alleviate problems of shoehorning pre-prepared presentations (ii)Peer assessment – if students take possession of fieldtrip, surely they should assess each other? Conclusions

15 Coe, N.M. and Smyth, F.M. (2010) Students as tour guides: innovation in fieldwork assessment. JGHE, 34(1), Cresswell, T. (2004) Place: a short introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. della Dora, V. (2011) Engaging sacred space: experiments in the field. JGHE, 35(2), Dummer, J.B., Cook, I.G., Parker, S.L., Barrett, G.A. and Hull, A.P. (2008) Promoting and assessing deep learning in Geography fieldwork: an evaluation of reflective field diaries. JGHE, 32(3), Fuller, I., Edmondson, S., France, D., Higgitt, D. and Ratinen, I. (2006) International perspectives on the effectiveness of geography fieldwork for learning. JGHE, 30(1), Haigh, M. and Gold, J.R. (1993) The problems with fieldwork: a group-based approach towards integrating fieldwork into the undergraduate geography curriculum. JGHE, 17(1), Hill, J. and Woodland, W. (2002) An evaluation of foreign fieldwork in promoting deep learning: a preliminary investigation. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 27(6), Jarvis, C. and Dickie, J. (2010) Podcasts in support of experiential field learning. JGHE, 34(2), Kent, M., Gilbertson, D.D. and Hunt, C.O. (1997) Fieldwork in Geography teaching: a critical review of the literature and approaches. JGHE, 21(3), Marvell, A. (2008) Student-led presentations in situ: the challenges to presenting on the edge of a volcano. JGHE, 32(2), McGuinness, M. and Simm, D. (2005) Going global? Long-haul fieldwork in undergraduate Geography. JGHE, 29(2), Saunders, A. (2010) Exhibiting the field for learning: telling New Yorks stories. JGHE, 35(2), Sidaway, J.D. (2002) Photography as geographical fieldwork. JGHE, 26(1), Smith, F.M. (2006) Encountering Europe through fieldwork. European Union and Regional Studies, 13(1), References

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