Geography Teacher Candidates' Experiences of Field Study in Western Anatolia: A Qualitative Study
Balci, Ali, Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri
The aim of this study is to establish expectations of 5th grade students from Marmara University's Department of Geography Teaching on geographical field study in Western Anatolia. For this reason, a field study trip was organized to Western Anatolia. A survey, which was consisted of open-ended guestions, was prepared by experts and it was conducted on students before and after the study. The survey revealed that 32, 2% of the expectations were related to physical geography, 23,1% to human geography and 44,7% to economic geography. The accumulated data were analyzed using descriptive analysis technigue. In conclusion, expectations of students were substantially satisfied after field study. After the fieldwork experience, 67,8% of student expectations were fully met, 7,1% of them were partially met, while 25,1% of their expectations were not fulfilled. It was also establishec that the rate of fulfilled expectations related to economic and human geography was higher than those related to ohysical geography. The findings were interpreted and suggestions were made concerning the issue
Geographical Field Study, Practical Geography Learning, Student Expectations, Geographic Expedition anc Observation.
Geographers build a relationship between human beings and the natural environment. They try to be useful to society and make suggestions to contribute to this relationship. Nature serves as a laboratory for geographers. Economic and human characteristics of the natural environment are thoroughly analyzed. Therefore, they conduct fieldwork which constitutes an essential part of a geographical education. (Açikgöz, 2006; Akçay, 2004; Akinoglu, 2004, 2005; Balli, 2009; Çaliskan, 2008; Erdem, 2007; Fuller, 2006; Gök & Girgin, 2001; Karakök, 2011; Kayag, 2009; Korkmaz, 2006; Özay 2003; Özkan, 2009; Rudmann, 1994; Tunç, 2006). Because these studies help solidify geographical knowledge. Exploring geographical features in the research environment and analyzing these features are possible only through fieldwork experiences. Horst blocks in geography textbooks turn into the Aydin and Boz mountains; graben blocks turn to the Gediz and Menderes plains. During field studies, students have the opportunity to see how reservoirs constructed on tributaries flowing between horst blocks prevent spate flows from damaging the planted areas and how spate flows are controlled to irrigate these planted areas. Students learn that determining where the fault lines lie in the field study area is not as easy as finding them on maps. A direct observation solidifies the relationship between faults and hot water sources. At the same time, they see these sources and projects that would contribute to the economy. They question the relationship between agricultural products and climate of a certain area chosen as a field for study. They have the opportunity to examine soil and vegetation of the area, as well. They make suggestions for future considering the current conditions of the world. They learn how geographical features of an area affect population characteristics there. They try to find out how much effect settlement has on traditional architecture. They discover the potentials of the cities and see how economic activities help cities develop an identity. They have the opportunity to explore planted lands and new agricultural activities and learn how agricultural products of an area have an effect on the economic structure there. They examine the current tourist attractions and question how they contribute to the economy. They discover how ground waters in a calcareous area form travertines and how much they contribute to economic development. They analyze ancient cities, holy structures and symbols of cities and interpret them calling the modern day conditions into mind.
Students find the opportunity to solidify their existing geographical knowledge as mentioned above. Theoretical knowledge transforms into practical knowledge (Fuller, Edmondson, France, Higgitt, & Ratinen, 2006; Scott, Fuller, & Gaskin 2006). …