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The confluence of methods: A case study investigating the benefits of fieldwork to year 12 students studying rivers

James Mutton

Secondary PGCE (Geography) 2009


Fieldwork is seen as an integral part of Geography by many and has been cemented into forthcoming teaching by the recent new syllabi. Geography teachers are always looking for opportunities to go on fieldtrips and to 'do' fieldwork, but how often do we consider why we are doing it? Is it actually beneficial to the students or do we do it undertake these expeditions because we feel it is expected of us? In addition, pressures to minimise timetable disruption and tighter Health and Safety regulations mean that the scope and frequency of fieldwork is often curtailed. Any fieldwork undertaken must therefore be highly focused on learning to ensure that students can obtain the maximum benefit from the experience.

This study looked at one example of a Year 12 residential fieldtrip to assess students' learning about rivers. Photo-elicitation, mind mapping and interviews were used with a sample to assess knowledge before and after the trip. In addition, whole group questionnaires were used to find the students' perceptions of fieldwork.

Whilst there was no conclusive evidence that this particular trip helped the sample students to learn about rivers, the study found many positive benefits including improved staff-student relationships, and more enthusiastic students.

Copyright: © 2010. This paper is copyright of the author. (Please read the Journal's copyright information page by using the menu to the left of this page.)

The full paper is available for download as a pdf file 083-106-muttonj

Citation: Mutton, J (2010) The confluence of methods: A case study investigating the benefits of field work to year 12 students studying rivers. Journal of Trainee Teacher Research, Volume 1, pp. 83-106.(Downloaded from, [date of access])