Finding the Curriculum in the Environment: Fieldwork Approaches to Student Learning in Initial Teacher Education

By Elizabeth Curtis.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In Scotland the introduction of A Curriculum for Excellence, (SEED, 2004) will give teachers the responsibility to support children's learning to become active citizens. As a teacher educator with responsibility for the delivery of combined Social Subjects to student teachers I am very aware of the ways in which they encompass an understanding of the social and cultural environment and its engagement with the natural world. The complementary disciplines enable learners to become reflexive participants in society, critically engaging with thinking about communities, social roles, politics, environment and a focus on citizenship education highlights this further. The Social Subjects also provide students opportunities to explore the concept of ‘habitus’ (Bourdieu, 1977), that is a way of understudying our place/being in the world and the relationship between our perceptions of ourselves as individuals and our living in community with others. Bruner’s model of representations of the world suggests three distinct phases in the development of understanding the world around us. In the development of a critical understanding of concepts such as place, time and society in student teachers the street can form an important locus for learning in an open, embodied and investigative way. This paper addresses the ways in which holistic and collaborative engagement by student teachers of a local street underpins their understanding of the diverse nature of ‘environmental education.’

Keywords: Embodied Learning, Habitus, Teacher Education, Fieldwork

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp.179-190. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 611.748KB).

Elizabeth Curtis

Lecturer, School of Education, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK

Before taking up post in the School of Education I was a development officer for Aberdeen Environmental Education Centre working with classes of children and teachers on a wide range of both urban and rural trails. My current research focuses on the value of aesthetic approaches to children’s learning in the built environment, the role of play in the development of effective enquiry skills and ways in which people develop understanding, make sense of and interpret spatial and temporal aspects of landscape.


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