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Activating the Classroom: Geographical Fieldwork as Pedagogical Practice

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Much geographical scholarship on teaching and learning details the intellectual, technical and personal benefits stemming from residential field course offerings, reflecting characteristics of constructivist active learning. With the sustainability of these offerings in question given logistical and political issues, there is greater demand for changes in field course delivery and structure. This paper seeks to expand the range of pedagogical tools, contexts and ways in which geographical field experience can take place. It does so by reconceptualizing 'the field' based on the idea of 'everyday life' as a meaningful entry point within a classroom context, and as a space of learning in which students construct knowledge for themselves. An empirical investigation of student learning experiences explores the possibility of re-creating the benefits of residential field course offerings in a classroom-based field course.

Keywords: Geographical fieldwork; experiential learning; knowledge construction

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, University of Guelph, Canada 2: Teaching Support Services, University of Guelph, Canada

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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