Fieldwork in geography teacher training

Authors: Tomas Torbjornsson*,
Topics: Geography Education, Field Methods, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: Fieldwork, geography teacher training, ontologies, root metaphors,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 4:30 PM / 6:10 PM
Room: Johnson, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Research provides many good reasons why inquiry based fieldwork should be a recurring element in geography lessons in school. Even so, it is well known that fieldwork, based on research recommendations, are rare in many schools worldwide. As a result, many teacher students lack both role models and positive memories from outdoor learning associated to geography lessons. To reverse this, geography teacher training programs need to communicate how to perform inquiry based fieldwork. The purpose in this presentation is to present a theoretical and methodological framework for how to design a fieldwork course module within a geography teacher training program. The theoretical point of departure is the three root metaphors in geography; the world as pattern, the world as arena and the world as a source of impressions and perceptions, which corresponds to material, social and mental ontologies.
In a group of thirteen students in a Swedish teacher training program, three students reported no experience of fieldwork whatsoever from their own school years. The remaining ten students reported together 35 occasions whereof 2/3 classifies as excursions and 1/3 as inquiry based fieldwork. Only two examples related to a mental ontology while the remaining 33 were evenly divided between material and social ontologies. During a field exercise, the students showed good ability to adapt the three root metaphors and design inquiries framed by the three ontologies respectively. A conclusion is that to succeed, we need to treat the three ontologies not as competing but as complementary perspectives.

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