THE IMPORTANCE OF FIELDWORK IN THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF GEOGRAPHY
THE IMPORTANCE OF FIELDWORK IN THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF GEOGRAPHY
1.1 THE STUDY'S BACKGROUND
Fieldwork is very important in geography teaching because it allows many geographical phenomena to be observed and better perceived in their own environment (TMNE, 2012; Article 14), real life experiences to be gained by putting theory into practise (Fuller, et al., 2006; Scott, et al., 2006), and thus leads to a better understanding of the real world (Fuller, 2006).
The field is the laboratory of geographical research (Garipaaolu, 2001), and geographical field trips allow you to use this lab (Doanay, 1993, 2002; Alkş, 2008; Kent, 1999).
Theoretical knowledge is applied in field visits (Gök and Girgin, 2001; Girgin et al., 2003; Akbulut, 2004; Açkgöz, 2006; Balc, 2010a). Field trips also help with concept teaching (Rudmann, 1994), increasing learning permanence (Balc, 2010b), facilitating the development of cognitive skills (Rudmann, 1994), and improving transferrable skills (Scott et al., 2006).
Furthermore, geographical fieldwork allows students to improve their ability to synthesise and assess concepts (Kzlçaolu, 2003; Akbulut, 2004); it also has a positive effect on students' geographical expectations (Balc, 2012), and ensures that students are in a consistent and enjoyable learning environment (Kent, et al., 1997).
The relevance of fieldwork in geography education has demanded research into geography teacher candidates' self-efficacy perspectives. In its most basic form, self-efficacy refers to beliefs in one's ability to organise and execute the courses of action required to achieve specific goals (Bandura, 1986), or to one's judgements or views about one's own capability or performance (Bandura, 1977, 1994, 1997; Lee, 2005).
Self-efficacy can also be defined as: an individual's response to questions like “What can I do?” (Snyder and Lopez, 2002) or “Can I do this task?” (Donald, 2003); an individual's self-confidence; an individual's judgement about his/her confidence in his/her ability; or his/her belief formed through his/her experiences (Lee, 2005; Ylmaz and Köseolu, 2004).
Fieldwork has a long and well-established presence in British geography education. It can be described as any curriculum component that involves leaving the classroom and engaging in teaching and learning activities through first-hand experience of phenomenal phenomena.
According to Alastair Bonnett3, “Geography wants to take children outside the schools and into the streets and fields… and into the rain or the sunshine” (p 80). The Geographical Association's'manifesto' for geography in schools, combined with the Royal Geographical Society's longstanding and unwavering support for fieldwork, leaves no doubt that learning in the'real world' is thought to be absolutely essential, contributing specific qualities that run through geography's identity as a subject discipline: its commitment to exploration and enquiry, and its concern to discover and be curious about the world.
Fieldwork, as mentioned above, is also essential in the sciences. It is sometimes compared to laboratory work, so ‘the field' for geographers is analogous to ‘the lab' for scientists. Fieldwork, on the other hand, is better viewed as a subset of practical science.
“There are differences,” writes Duncan Hawley. Separating items from their contexts is inherent in laboratory and classroom investigations… However, in the ‘natural' sciences, we can only discern how things and rules work in terms of empirical outcomes by placing them in certain situations” (p 88). As one workshop attendee put it, “not all science happens in test tubes, and young people need to understand this.”
There is plenty of evidence that students value fieldwork in both the sciences and geography. For example, Amos and Reiss6 report that, of eleven potential ways for learning science, students evaluated ‘going on a science trip or expedition' as the most pleasant and the fifth most beneficial and effective.
There is universal consensus in geography at all levels, including higher education, that fieldwork at its best can increase motivation, reduce worry about learning, and encourage deeper rather than more surface approaches to learning. It frequently gives unforgettable experiences and a commitment to carrying an inquiry through from start to finish, which is frequently dependent on working in teams and sharing efforts.
Fieldwork in geography qualifications has a long history for both 14-16 and 16-19 year-olds. Of fact, this broad statement encompasses a tremendous lot of diversity and change across time. Thus, previous to current regulatory frameworks, an individual fieldwork inquiry at AS/A level could contribute one-third of the final mark – externally scored, with a sample of students even being examined orally.
That was not the norm and is unlikely to be seen again, however it should be noted that following the introduction of GCSE in 1986, coursework was worth up to 40% of the final mark in some specifications. Today, it is difficult to obtain qualifications in geography at the ages of 16 or 19, even though the weighting is much lower.
Fieldwork is now included in GCSE ‘controlled assessment' (though schools that opt for iGCSE examinations can avoid this) and is part of the AS/A level skills paper. However, the purpose of this study is to discover the importance of field in geography teaching and learning.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The teaching of Geography content in some disciplines does not aim to achieve the environmental education objectives of awareness, knowledge, values, skills, attitudes, and readiness to participate in workshops, seminars, and conferences addressing environmental issues. Only a few instructional approaches handle these difficulties thoroughly, such as fieldwork, project methods, theatre methods, and so on.
It has been observed that residents of the study region and its environs have a casual attitude towards the environment. Poor attitude and irresponsibility are exemplified by irresponsible garbage disposal, indiscriminate harvesting of vegetative resources, quarrying gravels and sands, and a lack of a suitable town planning and land use system. National and international outcries have been raised over environmental degradation, which has resulted in ozone layer depletion, erosion, deforestation, and indiscriminate trash disposal.
These have a significant impact on human health and the general standard of living. This is because people are unaware of the environmental consequences of their actions. The global population is increasing in a geometric manner, whereas resources are increasing in an arithmetic manner.
This expanding population need the resources found in the environment to support it. Poor environmental management, particularly of farms and farming, has an impact on food supply, which is required to maintain the growing population. Population increase is also putting pressure on the environment and harming food supply. In contrast, if the environment is well cared for, the population will thrive.
According to Laleye (2010), 40% of the candidates failed the June/July NECO SSCE in geography. This is a typical occurrence in secondary schools in Nigeria. Many factors contribute to mass failure, including candidate carelessness, poor expression, a lack of syllabus covering, and a lack of a proper teaching style, among others.
According to the WAEC chief examiner's report (2007), field studies and investigations using primary and secondary sources are essential to all students' geographical education and experience. Similarly, it was discovered that SSCE candidates had a weak approach to environmental issues, which resulted in low grades with few instances.
Even those who sought to take their kids on field trips were required to fulfil all righteousness due to the low and weak performance in this area (The Chief Examiner Report, 2002). There are numerous teaching methods utilised in various fields of study, but none has been established as the ideal method of imparting environmental ideas and ideologies to the public who interact with the environment. The issue is hence the role of fieldwork in geograph teaching and learning.
1.3 THE STUDY'S OBJECTIVE
The primary goal of this research is to determine the role of fieldwork in geography teaching and learning. The study's specific goals are as follows:
1. Determine the function of fieldwork in geography teaching and learning.
2. To look into the impact of field work on students' performance in geography classes.
3. Determine the impact of fieldwork on students' attitudes towards geography at the Niger State college of Education.
4. To investigate the impact of fieldwork on lecturers' efficacy in teaching geography at Niger State College of Education.
1.4 QUESTION FOR RESEARCH
The following research questions will direct the researcher towards the indicated precise goal:
1. What is the function of fieldwork in geography teaching and learning?