The Handbook of Environmental Education

By Joy Palmer; Philip Neal | Go to book overview
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Chapter 8

The out-of-school (field work) approach
Environmental education is based on as much first-hand experience as possible so that the idea of moving out of the confines of the traditional classroom is one well rooted in the environmental approach. Although we prefer to talk about ‘out of classroom studies’ we recognize that the term ‘field work’ is firmly entrenched and in common use. What must be emphasized is that long journeys are not necessarily an essential part of field work—it can be a study entirely within the walls of the school, for instance an investigation into noise pollution. The school estate is part of the field work scene and the immediate neighbourhood will provide ample opportunity for activities of short duration and repetition. It goes almost without saying that study of the built environment is as much a part of field work as study of the countryside and other aspects of the natural world. The National Association for Field Studies Officers and the Field Study Council see field work as ‘relevant at all levels of education and requires the application of skills not easily demonstrated or used in the classroom. Field studies provide a most effective way to study environmental issues’ (NAFSO 1992). Field work to them
is essential in a cross-curricular environmental approach to both core and foundation National Curriculum subjects.
gives relevance to topics which could otherwise remain as secondhand learning.
is concerned with real people, real situations and real issues.
enables pupils to observe, record, analyse, present and interpret their own investigations.
provides pupils with opportunities to talk about their own world, to listen to others and to share their knowledge.
provides pupils with opportunities to look closely at aspects of a local environment and introduces the idea of environmental responsibility.
provides opportunities for pupils to work cooperatively using academic, practical and social skills.

(NAFSO 1992)

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