Field Work in College Education

Field Work in College Education

Field Work in College Education

Field Work in College Education

Excerpt

This book contributes to the current discussions of college education the experience of one college in the use of field work. Field work includes systematic observation, participation, and research carried on outside the college. Such work has become an essential part of education in graduate and professional, as well as in elementary and secondary, schools. Only recently, however, have undergraduate colleges begun to extend their conception of material "suitable" for college education to include work "in the field." Contemporary demands upon liberal education for actual results rather than labels, for breaking down the duality between life and letters, for more coherent and significant outcome of the years spent in college, have made it inevitable that a number of colleges should begin to include field work as a prominent feature of undergraduate education.

Such use of field work does not imply any reverence for sheer "activity" or "learning by doing" in a narrow sense, nor any idea that the "real" world begins only outside college walls. Rather, with recognition that many different kinds of learning are parts of the real world, field work is used in certain specific situations to help students to acquire facts, skills, concepts, or methods which they cannot get so well, or more often cannot get at all, in any other way. For certain subjects field work is as essential as the laboratory for natural science, the studio for painting, the nursery school for child psychology. Field work may also be of the utmost importance in developing relations among different areas of knowledge and between college and community life. To many students field work gives a method of learning and a sense of significance and coherence which is irreplaceable at certain points in their education and which enriches subsequent study. The kinds of subjects and the kinds of learning situations in which field work has been found particularly valuable and the kinds of students for whom it has been . . .

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