[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Coastal and marine studies in Australia: a workshop manual for teachers

Griffith University and the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, 1997
ISBN 0 868 57872 X

Module 4

Using the Environment and Community as a Resource for Learning in Coastal and Marine Studies

INTRODUCTION

This module encourages teaching and learning through the use of experiences and community resources from outside the classroom. Providing students with high quality learning activities in relevant situations beyond the four walls of the classroom can provide a sense of environmental and cultural appreciation, altered perspectives, and first hand practical experiences that enhance learning. In the context of learning about the coastal and marine environment, the opportunity for such experiences is critical as students are then more able to use their developing knowledge, skills and attitudes in their everyday lives.

The community can also be brought to the classroom. As well as a range of coastal and marine science and management guest speakers, community resources can include local environmental groups, indigenous communities/groups, and staff from environmental centres, museums, aquaria, etc. The workshop activities provide teachers with an overview of the wide range of field studies and community resources that may be used in coastal and marine studies and give an awareness of general issues and principles for making effective use of them.

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of this workshop are:

WORKSHOP OUTLINE

There are six activities in this workshop:
  1. Introduction
    This activity provides participants with an opportunity to get to know one another. This is followed by the presentation of the workshop outline which introduces the two main themes of the workshop: using the environment as a resource for learning in coastal and marine studies; and using the community as a resource for learning in coastal and marine studies.
  2. The Purpose, Nature and Scope of Fieldwork
    Participants work in groups to discuss approaches to field work based on a case study. This is followed by a mini-lecture which reviews the nature, purpose and objectives of fieldwork.
  3. Planning for Effective Fieldwork
    In this activity participants work in groups to consider the wide range of issues that need to be considered when planning a field trip.
  4. Risk Management
    Participants work in pairs to determine some sources of risk involved with fieldwork and discuss ways of managing and minimising risk. This discussion is followed by a mini-lecture on the principles of risk management.
  5. The Purpose, Nature and Scope of Community-Based Learning
    In this activity participants explore the range of community groups and individuals that can be accessed for learning in coastal and marine studies. Participants are also introduced to some principles, in particular cross-cultural protocols, that must be considered when using community members as a resource for learning.
  6. Coastcare
    This activity introduces participants to the concept and operation of a community-based coastal program (Coastcare). Coastcare case studies are discussed as examples of school-based coastal and marine projects.

MATERIALS REQUIRED

A. Provided

Overhead Transparencies
OHT 1: Objectives of the Workshop
OHT 2: Workshop Outline
OHT 3: Objectives of Fieldwork
OHT 4A: Approaches to Fieldwork: Field Teaching
OHT 4B: Approaches to Fieldwork: Field Research
OHT 4C: Approaches to Fieldwork: Guided Field Research
OHT 5: Three Phases of Planning
OHT 6A: Planning Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom - Teacher Preparation
OHT 6B: Planning Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom - Student Preparation
OHT 7: Risk Analysis and Management System for a Rook Pool Study
OHT 8: Principles of Risk Management
OHT 9: The Variety of Resources in the Community
OHT 10: Coastcare


 

Resources
Resource 1: Staffroom Chat!
Resource 2: Risk Analysis Matrix
Resource 3: People and Organisations
Resource 4: Principles for Using Community Members as a Resource
Resource 5: Coastcare Case Study 1: Sorrell School, Park Beach Coastcare Project
Resource 6: Coastcare Case Study 2: Angels Beach Dune Care Group
Resource 7: Coastcare Contacts
Resource 8: Coastal and Marine Community Network


 

Readings
Reading 1: The Nature and Purposes of Fieldwork
Reading 2: Risk Management


 

B. To be obtained

Activity 1 A soft toy for the icebreaker (preferably with marine focus, e.g. a stuffed toy dolphin, fish, etc.). It will need to be safe and durable enough to be thrown around a circle of participants during the activity.

 

Activity 5 A clear glass or plastic bowl to use as a rock pool to hold slips cut out of Resource 3 and Resource 4.

FURTHER READING

Council for Environmental Education (1994) INSET for Environmental Education 5-16 Module 4: Environmental Education for Geography, Council for Environmental Education, University of Reading, Reading.

Davidson, G. (1992) Risk Management Matrix, Outdoor Safety Institute, New Zealand.

Foster, B. (n.d.) Coastal Community Resource Kit: How to Save Our Coast and Oceans, Australian Marine Conservation Society.

Laws, K. (1989) Learning Geography Through Fieldwork in J. Fien, R. Gerber and P. Wilson (eds) The Geography Teacher's Guide to the Classroom, 2nd edition, Macmillan, Melbourne, Ch. 10.

Maccoll, P. (1989) Selecting and Evaluating Resources for Geography Teaching, in J. Fien, R. Gerber and P. Wilson (eds) The Geography Teacher's Guide to the Classroom, 2nd edition, Macmillan, Melbourne, Ch. 29.

May, S., Richardson, P. and Banks, V. (1993) Fieldwork in Action: Planning Fieldwork, The Geographical Association, Sheffield.

Monroe, C. and Cappaert, D. (1994) Using Community Resources, National Consortium for Environmental Education and Training, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Rogers, A. (ed.) (1995) Taking Action: An Environmental Guide For You and Your Community, United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi.

Shorelines: Coast and Marine Information Series, available from The Community Information Unit, Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, GPO Box 787, Canberra ACT 2601. Tel: 1800 803 772.

ACTIVITIES

1. Introduction

In this icebreaker activity, called the 'Catch Name Game', participants form a large circle. The facilitator states his/her name and adds a statement about field studies or community resources for coastal and marine studies. For example, the facilitator may state, "My name is ..... and my favourite place for field studies in coastal and marine studies is ......". The facilitator then throws a soft marine toy to a person in the circle who states his/her own name and makes a statement about coastal and marine studies fieldwork or community resources (e.g. My name is ...... and I often invite speakers to visit my class"). He/she then throws the toy to someone else. The activity continues until all participants have received the toy and made their statement.


2. The Purpose, Nature and Scope of Fieldwork

Note to facilitators: During the mini-lecture, ask participants for examples of their fieldwork experiences which might illustrate the points and, of course, also give examples from your own experience. The OHTs and Reading 1 could also be photocopied and provided to participants as a resource.


3. Planning for Effective Fieldwork


4. Risk Management


5. The Purpose, Nature and Scope of Community Based Learning

Introduce this activity by explaining that there is a variety of people and organisations that could be used as resources for learning in coastal and marine studies. Furthermore, there are some basic principles that must be taken into consideration when using the community as a resource for learning. Explain that a range of these will be explored in this activity.

Preparation

Running the Activity


6. Coastcare

The purpose of this activity is to introduce participants to one community action program, Coastcare, in order to provide an example of a community resource that is available.

A. Introduction to Coastcare

Introduce this activity using OHT 10 to outline the nature, objectives and variety of Coastcare projects. Emphasise the role of community based groups such as Coastcare in identifying issues and problems in coastal and marine regions and in providing an opportunity for people to work together to develop and implement strategies to solve problems.

Note to facilitators: In some instances participants in the workshop may be experienced in Coastcare activities. If this is the case, consider using their expertise in this part of the workshop. You could contact these people (or other Coastcare group members) before the workshop and ask them to give a short presentation on:

B. Analysing a Case Study

(These questions appear at the end of each case study.)

Note to facilitators: See OHT 4 and Reading 1 in Module 2 for guidelines on involving members of Aboriginal communities as resource persons in coastal and marine studies.

OHT 1

Objectives of the Workshop

OHT 2

Workshop Outline

1. Introduction

A. Using the Environment as a Resource for Learning

2. The Purpose, Nature and Scope of Fieldwork

3. Planning for Effective Fieldwork

4. Risk Management

B. Using the Community as a Resource for Learning

5. The Purpose, Nature and Scope of Community Based Learning

6. Coastcare Case Studies

OHT 3

Objectives of Fieldwork

Source: Adapted from Laws, K. (1989) Learning Geography through Fieldwork in J. Fien, R. Gerber, and P. Wilson, (eds) The Geography Teacher's Guide to the Classroom, 2nd edition, Macmillan, Melbourne, p.106.

  1. Attitudinal Objectives
    • To arouse students' curiosity.
    • To develop favourable attitudes towards learning through enjoyable and meaningful outdoor activities.
    • To provoke students to ask questions and identify problems.
    • To sharpen students' perception and appreciation of changing land and sea scapes.
    • To provide opportunities to explore a range of alternative cultural and management perspectives first-hand.
    • To give students the experience of the pleasure of discovery.
    • To enjoy the study of coastal and marine related subjects and acquire a deeper interest in these subjects.
  2. Knowledge Objectives
    • To develop better understandings of the nature of issues discussed in the classroom and in books.
    • To enable students to think and acquire knowledge through personal experience.
    • To understand the relationships between coastal and marine physical features, marine organisms and human activities.
    • To develop an awareness of problems relating to human occupancy of the coast and use of marine resources.
  3. Skills Objectives
    • To develop an understanding of scientific modes of inquiry.
    • To distinguish between necessary and extraneous information.
    • To use navigational charts
    • To relate real features to map symbols for navigation.
    • To develop skills in data collection, recording and analysis.

OHT 4A

Approaches to Fieldwork: Field Teaching

Source: Adapted from Laws, K. (1989) Learning Geography through Fieldwork in J. Fien, R. Gerber, and P. Wilson, (eds) The Geography Teacher's Guide to the Classroom, 2nd edition, Macmillan, Melbourne, p.105.

Study of a coastal and marine topic or theme in class. Teacher talk, textbook study, note taking, slide viewing, videos etc.

arrow

Field observations (often teacher directed). Recording of information in the field. Some field interpretation.

arrow

Back at school - further interpretation and explanation in class - writing up field report.

OHT 4B

Approaches to Fieldwork: Field Research

Source: Adapted from Laws, K. (1989) Learning Geography through Fieldwork in J. Fien, R. Gerber and P. Wilson (eds) The Geography Teacher's Guide to the Classroom, 2nd edition, Macmillan, Melbourne, p.105.

Identification of a problem as the result of direct observations or from class work or from special interests of students.

arrow

Formulation of an hypothesis as a result of reading, discussion, thinking.

arrow

Field activities to collect data to test hypothesis.

arrow

Data analysis - processing information.

arrow

Hypothesis testing - accept or reject.

OHT 4C

Approaches to Fieldwork: Guided Field Research

Source: Adapted from Laws, K. (1989) Learning Geography through Fieldwork in Fien, J., Gerber, R. and Wilson, P. (eds.) The Geography Teacher's Guide to the Classroom, 2nd edition, Macmillan, Melbourne, p.105

On some occasions (e.g. for younger students) it can sometimes be beneficial to help them set questions to be answered as the result of direct observations or from class work or from special interests of students.

arrow

What they think are the answers.

arrow

Field activities to collect data to answer the questions.

arrow

Do their conclusions agree with their tentative answers from before the field activity? Why/Why not?

arrow

Hypothesis testing - accept or reject.

OHT 5

Three Phases of Planning

Source: Adapted from Laws, K. (1989) Learning Geography through Fieldwork in Fien, J., Gerber, R. and Wilson, P. (eds.) The Geography Teacher's Guide to the Classroom, 2nd edition, Macmillan, Melbourne, p.107.

Teacher

Students

Phase 1:
Pre-Fieldwork
  • Determine purposes of fieldwork
  • Revise essential pre-requisite knowledge and skills
  • Fulfil all official requirements
  • Inform students and parents of purposes, costs, arrangements
  • Book site and transport
  • Visit site and plan activities
  • Brief guest speakers
  • Complete risk analysis matrix
  • Compile list of student names and emergency contact numbers
  • Be aware of the purposes of fieldwork (possibly contribute to their determination)
  • Master pre-requisite knowledge and skills
  • Develop data collection techniques
  • Know personal and group responsibilities
  • Be aware of arrangements, and necessary materials and equipment
Phase 2:
Fieldwork
  • General supervision
  • Provide assistance when required
  • Encourage students to be analytical by raising questions such as Why? How?
  • Make direct observations- identifying, describing, constructing, measuring
  • Collect and record data
  • Use specific field techniques - sketching, mapping, transect
  • Make initial analysis and interpretations
  • Be aware of their own and other perceptions
Phase 3:
Post-Fieldwork
  • Provide additional information if essential at that time
  • Evaluate the complete experience - including organisation and learning outcomes
  • Directing students to other resources to confirm their findings
  • Organising information collected
  • Test hypotheses
  • Generalising on the basis of collected data
  • Checking findings with others
  • Discussing puzzling issues
  • Researching unanswered questions
  • Making presentations

OHT 6A

Planning Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom: Teacher Preparation

OHT 6B

Planning Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom: Student Preparation

OHT 7

Risk Analysis and Management System for a Rock Pool Study

Source: Adapted from B. Law, Christchurch College of Education.

Student Year Level: 7

Number of Students: 30

Activity: Rock Pool Study at Ballinka Point

Date: 9 March

Probable

Undesired Event(s)

(e.g. accident, injury, other forms of damage)

1. Students injured by falling/stepping on sharp stones or shells and algae around pools

2. Stranded by incoming tide

3. Students frightened by surf or rushing water

4. Psychological damage from fear of water, sea creatures etc.

5. Headaches from lack of fluids

6. Sunburn

To/From People

To/From Equipment

To/From Environment

Potential Risks

 

  • Poor supervision around rockpools
  • Students with medical problems, e.g. asthma
  • Poor briefing of adult support people
  • Adequate food

 

  • Glass containers
  • Inappropriate clothing and footwear
  • Freshwater supply
  • Deep rock pools
  • Surf and tides
  • Noise of surf distracting students attention
  • Sun and burnt skin
  • Injury to biota
  • Heavy foot traffic on sensitive areas
  • Stings from marine life or insects

Risk Management Strategies

(Normal Operations)

 

  • Support people are well briefed on their responsibilities
  • Students are supervised around rock pools
  • Use of medical forms
  • Plan to use areas that are safe

 

  • Use plastic containers
  • Provide a list of appropriate clothing, e.g.
    - sunscreen
    - hat
    - extra warm clothing in case the temperature drops)
    - waterproof jacket
    - wet and dry footwear
  • Ensure that students can explore the shallow rock pools where they won't fall into deep water
  • Brief students regarding the noise of the surf crashing against the rocks
  • Check the surf conditions and tides to ensure a safe working environment
  • Make sure students bring suntan lotion, hats and drinking water

Risk Management Strategies

(Emergencies)

  • Pre visit the site to personally check the risks at a similar tide time
  • Have a first aid kit with you at all times
  • Make sure a teacher is qualified in first aid
  • Teacher is skilled at class supervision and communication to handle an emergency
  • Make sure that prepared emergency procedures are in place
  • Mobile telephone

OHT 8

Principles of Risk Management

  1. Risk Identification
    • People
    • Equipment
    • Environment
    • Activities
  2. Real and Perceived Risk
    • Participant perception
    • Thrill and reality
    • Fear and knowledge
    • Safety procedures and confidence
  3. Assessment of Risk
    • How much is acceptable?
    • Value of risky activities
  4. Reduction of Risk
    • Rules, policies and guidelines
    • Employing appropriate leadership style
    • Knowing your students
    • Disclosing the risk
    • Teaching by progression
    • Developing safety consciousness
    • Having the personal skills appropriate to the activity
  5. Social and Psychological Factors
    • Familiarisation with the situation 'It can't happen to me.'
    • Risk shift
    • Dropping your guard
    • Get-home-itis
    • Attribution theory
  6. Summary
    • Awareness
    • Understanding
    • Judgement
    • Can you cope with an emergency?

OHT 9

The Variety of Resources in the Community

Source: Maccoll, P. (1989) Selecting and Evaluating Resources for Geography Teaching, in Fien, J., Gerber, R. and Wilson, P. (eds) The Geography Teacher's Guide to the Classroom, 2nd edition, Macmillan, Melbourne, p. 390.

Image of The Variety of Resources in the Community

OHT 10

Coastcare

Nature of Coastcare

Objectives of Coastcare

Examples of Coastcare Projects

Resource 1

Staffroom Chat!

Source: Adapted from Laws, K. (1989) Learning Geography Through Fieldwork in Fien, J., Gerber, R. and Wilson, P. (eds.) The Geography Teacher's Guide to the Classroom, 2nd edition, Macmillan, Melbourne, p.104.

Scene: Staff Room

Teacher A:
I really must organise some fieldwork for my class. We have been studying coasts for two weeks and they really need to get into the field and see the effects of the processes we have been talking about.
Teacher B:
Where will you go?
Teacher C:
I always take my group to Palm Beach. It's very close to the school and there are a good number of questions and issues to investigate.
Teacher B:
I hate fieldwork. It always takes so much time to prepare worksheets and organise the kids. I'd much rather go myself and take slides of the important features. Then I can use them with my class and make sure they get all their notes complete.
Teacher A:
I'm not going to have many question sheets for them to fill in. I want them to make accurate observations. I think we will spend most of the time measuring things like the wave interval. They can determine the direction of longshore drift and from the headland you can see the pattern of wave refraction. Most of the work will involve the students. I think I will organise the class into groups and get them to draw a number of cross-sections from the parking area to the water line at the middle and each end of the beach.

Resource 2

Risk Analysis Matrix

Source: Adapted from B. Law, Christchurch College of Education.

Student Year Level: ______________________
Number of Students: _______________________
Activity/Situation: _______________________
Date: ____________________________________

Possible Undesired Event(s)

(e.g. accident, injury, other forms of damage)

  1. Students injured by falling on sharp stones or shells around pools
  2.  
  3.  
  4.  
  5.  
To/From People To/From Equipment To/From Environment
Potential Risks
  • Poor supervision around rockpools
  •  
  •  
  • Glass containers
  •  
  •  
  • Deep rock pools
  •  
  •  
Risk Management Strategies
(Normal operations)
  • Support people are well briefed on their responsibilities
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • Use plastic containers
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • Ensure that students can explore the shallow rock pools where they won't fall into deep water
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Risk Management Strategies
(Emergencies)
  • Have a first aid kit with you at all times
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Resource 3

People and Organisations

Marine Field Study Centres

Marine Discovery Centres

Seaworld

Local Historical Societies

Local Environments

University Lecturers

Surfing Australia

Surf Life Saving Clubs

Natural History Clubs

Aboriginal Rangers

Marine Park Rangers

Aboriginal Media Association

Aboriginal Community Councils

Dolphin Research Institute

Marine and Coastal Community Network

Australian Underwater Federation

Environmental Education Centres

Marine Education Society of Australasia

Australian Marine Conservation Society

Other Teachers

Parents

Coast Guard

Beach Protection Authority

Science Teachers Association of Australia

Council Library

School Library

Coastcare

Marine Science Professionals

Environment Departments

Fisheries Departments

National Parks and Wildlife Service

Resource 4

Principles for Using Community Members as a Resource

Resource 5

Coastcare Case Study 1: Sorrell School, Park Beach Coastcare Project

Source: Adapted from K. Willing, Tasmanian Coastcare Co-ordinator.


In 1994, the beach adjacent to Sorrell State School was not an attractive place. The dunes were becoming eroded, the noxious weed, African Boneseed, was threatening to inundate native flora, litter was abundant and the toilet area was in need of repair. The teachers and students of the school asked the local Boardriders Club for help and together they put forward a "Management Plan" to the Sorrell Council Parks and Wildlife Service for consideration.

The Plan consisted of a strategy to protect the sand dunes from erosion by fencing off the dunes and constructing a walkway to the beach. It also suggested beautifying the toilet area by painting murals on the water tanks, providing more rubbish bins and planting shade trees around the carpark. The plan targeted the eradication of African boneseed and the re-establishment of native plants. Additional plans were also made to build a viewing platform for the disabled, to establish a picnic and barbecue area, construct a community notice board and organise regular litter clean ups.

The school, in conjunction with Lions, Rotary, Boardriders, Council and Parks and Wildlife formed the 'Park Beach Coastal Care Group' and received $3 500 from the 1994/95 Save the Bush Grant and $2 000 in 1995/96 as a continuation of this grant. This was put towards fencing off the dunes and establishing a walkway, painting the mural, planting trees in the carpark, the ongoing removal of Boneseed and building the viewing platform. In addition the group has also held celebrations in the area for Clean Up Australia Day and Ocean Care Day. Members have cleaned graffiti from the sandstone cliffs and are monitoring the effects of the release of 4 000 African Boneseed beetles in the area.

In 1995 the Park Beach Coastal Care Group won the Telstra Landcare Education award for Tasmania. The group's co-ordinator said:

The aim of the Park Beach Project is to restore the sand dunes at Park Beach, re-establish the natural vegetation and eradicate African Boneseed in the area. The project offers a unique opportunity for the children at Sorrell School to learn about the local environment, the problems of environmental degradation and the care, patience and commitment required over a long period to rehabilitate damaged land. The project also offers the opportunity for the school to co-ordinate resources and community groups to achieve their aims. Management plans were collated and discussed at school. The children drew up their management plan for the area. This plan was sent to the Sorrell Council and the Department of the Environment and Land Management.

Coastcare Case Study Questions

Resource 6

Coastcare Case Study 2: Angels Beach Dune Care Group

Source: H. Gilmore (1997) The Lady of the Dunes, Sun-Herald, 5th January, p.17.


Shirley White was a pioneer of the movement to protect the sand dunes which line our beaches. Now a new generation is taking up the mantle. Leanne Paskins, 13, and Sara Tomkins, 7, joined Mrs White in the battle to restore sand dunes which have been damaged by introduced plants and animals and development.

Mrs White moved to the far north coast seven years ago and was upset by the degradation of Angels Beach in her home town of Ballina. Relatives told her about a new community effort to turn back the tide of the dreaded bitou bush, an introduced South African plant which has taken over Australian sand dunes. One mature bitou bush can produce 50 000 seeds twice a year in the right conditions and swamp native plants, pushing them out of the botanical picture.

Mrs White formed the Angels Beach Dune Care and Reafforestation Group, one of the few groups at the time devoted to regenerating sand dune areas in NSW. Now 400 such groups exist, associated with the national Coastcare program, to protect the dune plants, animals, insects and the rainforest behind the rear dune.

"There is so much diversity here worth saving. We've clawed back seven hectares from a total of 68 ha along the beach," she said. "We're always on the lookout for volunteers. And we work in shady areas so the sun shouldn't frighten anyone....The young people love getting involved. We work with about six schools."

Coastcare NSW co-ordinator Sara Williams said the program was a major federal government initiative. She said the organisation wanted to give communities, including local industries, a sense of stewardship for coastal and marine areas.

To promote an understanding, awareness and caring for the coastal environment, a program of 400 summer activities had also been planned, including beachcombing, rockpool rambles, art activities and estuary spotlights. The programs are advertised at local tourist information centres.

Coastcare Case Study Questions

Resource 7

Coastcare Contacts

Commonwealth

Commonwealth Coastcare Officer
Portfolio Marine Group
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

Tel: (02) 6274 1430


Community Information Unit
Department of the Environment,
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

Tel: 1800 803 772

South Australia

State Coastal Co-ordinator
GPO Box 2693
ADELAIDE 5001

Tel: (08) 8224 24046

Tasmania

Coastcare Project Officer
Coastal and Marine Program
Department of Environment and Land Management
GPO Box 150E
HOBART 7001

Tel: (03) 6233 3742

New South Wales

State Coastcare Officer
Coastal and Riverine Management
Department of Land and Water Conservation
McKell Building 2-24 Rawson Place
SYDNEY 2000

Tel: (02) 9372 7606
Fax: (02) 9372 7613

Victoria

Coastcare/Coast Action Programme Administrator
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
7/250 Victoria Pde
EAST MELBOURNE 3002

Tel: (03) 9412 4823

Queensland

State Coastcare Officer
Coastal Management Branch
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 155
BRISBANE-ALBERT STREET Q 4002

Tel: 1800 651 132

Western Australia

Co-ordinator
Environment and Planning Branch
Department of Planning and Urban Development
Albert Facey House
469 Wellington Studies
PERTH 6000

Tel: (08) 9264 7777
Fax: (08) 9321 1617


Resource 8

Marine and Coastal Community Network

National Co-ordinator

Marine and Coastal Community Network
PO Box 3139
YERONGA Q 4104

Tel: 1800 815 332
Fax: (07) 3892 5814

Western Australia

Regional Co-ordinator
Marine and Coastal Community Network
79 Stirling St
PERTH WA 6000

Tel: (08) 9220 0662
Fax: (08) 9220 0653

New South Wales

Regional Co-ordinator
Marine and Coastal Community Network
PO Box R 73
Royal Exchange
SYDNEY NSW 2000

Tel: (02) 9566 4025
Fax: (02) 9552 3574

Tasmania

Regional Co-ordinator
Marine and Coastal Community Network
GPO Box 567
HOBART TAS 7001

Tel: (03) 6234 3665
Fax: (02) 6231 2491

Victoria

Regional Co-ordinator
Marine and Coastal Community Network
10 Parliament Place
MELBOURNE VIC 3001

Tel: (03) 9650 4846
Fax: (03) 9654 6843

South Australia

Regional Co-ordinator
Marine and Coastal Community Network
PO Box 120
HENLEY BEACH SA 5022

Tel: (08) 8200 2455
Fax: (08) 8200 2481

Queensland

Regional Co-ordinator
Marine and Coastal Community Network
PO Box 364
TOWNSVILLE QLD 4810

Tel: (077) 716 636
Fax: (077) 211 713


Regional Co-ordinator
Marine and Coastal Community Network
PO Box 3139
YERONGA Q 4104

Tel: 1800 815 332
Fax: (07) 3892 5814


Reading 1

The Nature and Purposes of Fieldwork

Source: Adapted from Laws, K. (1989) Learning Geography Through Fieldwork in Fien, J., Gerber, R. and Wilson, P. (eds.) The Geography Teacher's Guide to the Classroom, 2nd edition, Macmillan, Melbourne, pp.105-116.

The Purposes of Fieldwork

A great range of objectives can be achieved through fieldwork. Some objectives relate to the formation of attitudes and the development of an aesthetic awareness. Other objectives are concerned with the development of scientific understandings in coastal and marine studies. Still other objectives relate to the development of skills, often those associated with the study of coastal and marine environments (see OHT 3).

Although the teacher holds the ultimate responsibility for what happens during fieldwork, the experience can be used to help students develop a greater sense of their own responsibilities towards each other and the tasks on which they are working. When planning fieldwork it is necessary to match the activities selected with the objectives and purposes of the fieldwork. The selection of objectives will depend to some extent upon the timing of the fieldwork within the sequence of learning activities. For example, fieldwork can be used early in the learning sequence as a means of basic information gathering and increasing the motivation of students. Sometimes, fieldwork may be used towards the end of a unit of work as a means of drawing a number of themes together. At other times field activities may be integrated throughout a unit of work to develop students' understandings of concepts, generalisations and principles.

Approaches to Fieldwork

Two approaches may be identified to fieldwork activities. The first, the traditional approach, is often referred to as field teaching. At its worst, this often involves the teacher taking students to a field location and delivering a mini-lecture from which students are expected to take notes. Little opportunity exists for student input and reaction. At its best, this approach involves students in the careful observation and description of an environment and in suggesting possible explanations based on previously acquired information.

The second approach, a field research approach, also involves observation, description and explanation but adopts a problem-solving focus, using techniques similar to those used in scientific explanation. This is the inductive approach to fieldwork. These two approaches are illustrated in OHTs 4A and 4B. Note that OHT 4C provides an example of a guided approach to field research that is perhaps suitable for younger students.

Each of these approaches has relevance for coastal and marine studies and the approach adopted for any particular field study will depend on the purpose of the field activities. If students are inexperienced in making their own observations or lack confidence in their ability to solve problems, field teaching can help, provided that opportunities for them to find their own examples of features and processes are included as an integral part of the experience. Field research requires a high level of planning on the part of the students and the teacher. Students must know precisely what it is that they are searching for and how they are to go about their search. Teachers must ensure that students possess the necessary data collecting and recording skills and provide assistance to the students during the analysis phase.

To be meaningful, fieldwork should be integrated with classroom activities. A sequence of activities for students can be identified involving pre-fieldwork, fieldwork and post-fieldwork activities. These steps are illustrated in OHT 5.

Problems and Constraints in Fieldwork

Despite the advantages of fieldwork as a learning experience, the problems and constraints have to be acknowledged. Many of the constraints are associated with organisational factors such as the difficulty of adequately supervising a large group of students and providing them with the assistance they may need, the lessons missed by the teachers conducting the fieldwork, the lessons missed by students, and alterations which have to be made to the school timetable. The time needed to plan a worthwhile field trip and the cost of transport and accommodation, if required, also have to be considered. The argument that a teacher may lack the detailed knowledge of the locality can be overcome by a reconnaissance, preferably with a colleague, and through reading. However, it must be acknowledged that the time factor is important. The safety of the students is also something which must be kept in mind when planning activities. The problems and constraints emphasise the need to ensure that only meaningful field activities are undertaken. One way this can be achieved is through the specification of the anticipated outcomes of any field experiences. In this way it is possible to alert principals and parents to the importance of the work.

Some problems in fieldwork relate to the learning processes to be used by students. Observation, descriptive analysis and inferring are some of the skills required. However, there are many skills associated with data collection and the analysis of data which students must develop to get the most out of their fieldwork.

Despite concluding this reading with a warning about the problems and constraints associated with fieldwork it should never be forgotten that perhaps the most meaningful and lasting learning takes place when students are actively participating in exploring the great variety of environments around them. In addition, the fieldwork experience provides opportunities for teachers and students to get to know each other and interact outside the structures of the classroom and the school yard.


Reading 2

Risk Management

Source: McConnell, B. and Dalton, J. (1991) Risk Management, in Learning for a Sustainable Environment: Innovations in Teacher Education through Environmental Education, UNESCO Asia-Pacific Centre of Educational Innovation for Development, Bangkok. Draft module on 'Using the Environment as a Resource for Learning'. Adapted in 1995 by Law, B. for use in EE.

Introduction

Risk is an integral part of taking groups into an outdoor setting and outdoor activities are playing an increasing role in educational, recreational and youth programmes. Risk management is a way of ensuring greater safety and enjoyment in the outdoors by focussing on the planning stages before actually doing the activity. Risk management is the identification, assessment and reduction of risks associated with the activities with which we are involved and is related to any activity from a simple day excursion on easy tracks to an extended trip in remote country. An awareness of potential risks should make us think deeply about what we are taking on, why we are doing it and whether we have the skills. It focuses on the participants, the environment, the equipment, the activity and the skills of the teacher.

The Principles of Risk Management

1. Risk Identification

This simply means that the risks associated with any activity must first be identified before they can be dealt with any further. The risks are associated with: people, equipment, the environment, and particular activities.

People
The teacher needs to thoroughly understand the composition of the group he/she is leading and the capabilities of individual members, e.g. fitness levels, experience, medical conditions, fears, expectations, etc. Appropriate ratios of experienced to inexperienced people should be considered in relation to any activity.
Equipment
What equipment is appropriate for the activity? Is the group skilled in using it? What clothing and food will be required and are we prepared for an emergency; i.e. do we have spare food, extra clothing, a first aid kit, etc.?
Environment
What risks are associated with a particular environment? e.g., rivers to cross, thick bush, unsafe beach, prevailing weather, or damage to the environment by people involved in specific activities.
Activity
Each activity has inherent risks, e.g., using technical equipment, crossing rivers, or working around water. If the teacher is aware of these risks, then steps can be taken to reduce them through, for example, a session on water safety or on due diligence to minimal impact practices before the trip.

If the teacher has identified the risks associated with all the above, this should influence the decisions made about the suitability of the activity or the environment and will ensure a better quality experience for all concerned.

2. Real and perceived risk

Once the risks associated with an activity have been identified, it is sometimes important to distinguish between real risks and perceived risks in order to best deal with them.

Real risks are actual risks, where the participants could either die or be injured, e.g. by drowning or breaking a limb. These risks, if identified, should be avoided or modified to acceptable levels.

Perceived risks are apparent risks which exist in the mind of the participant. Perceived risk is often manifested in fear or anxiety in an individual. Some activities, particularly those involving an outdoor activity skill, have a mixture of real and perceived risk associated with them. From an outdoor leader's perspective, it is important to judge how much fear is present and what steps can be taken to allay these fears.

Some of the real and perceived risks one might face during a beach study are illustrated in the following table.

Risk Source

Real Risks

Risks

People
  • Not enough instructors for student numbers
  • No respect for safety practices
  • Falling in pools
  • Fear of water
  • Peer pressure
Equipment
  • No life saving equipment
  • No spare clothes
  • No suntan lotion or hat
 
Environment
  • Deep water
  • Wet rock - slippery around rock pools
  • Cold
  • Unsafe water conditions
  • Large waves
  • Swept out to sea
  • Exposure

3. Assessment of Risk

When the risks associated with an activity have been identified - and sorted into real and perceived risks - the next step is to assess the amount of risk involved. Usually someone will need to take responsibility for the actual assessment, i.e. the leader or person responsible for organising the activity. This person must use judgement. Judgement involves the experience/skill/knowledge of the people, environment and equipment involved.

The teacher's assessment of risk could have two possible outcomes:

  1. That the risk level is acceptable and the group can continue with the activity.
  2. That there is too much risk. This is unacceptable and other options must be considered.

For example, a group of students arrive at a local beach to participate in a study of life in rock pools. However, when they arrive at the beach they discover there is a strong wind and the surf is very high. The teacher reassesses the situation and decides that the students could be swept away by the huge surf crashing around the rock pools. The plan is modified and the teacher and students move along the beach to the estuary where the water is calmer and complete their study at a different site.

4. Reduction of Risk

There are many ways of modifying risk levels before and during activities.

Employing directive leadership
Use directive leadership in order to reduce the risks of certain activities. Always make sure the direction is accompanied with a reason so that individuals can learn from the experience. For example, it is appropriate to ask students to:
  • Move away from rock pools that are deep and have an unsafe working area.
  • Put on extra clothing if they are cold and exposed to the wind.
  • Work together in pairs and not to move away to other areas before checking with a supervisor.
Knowing your students
The better you know your group the more aware you are of their capabilities, individual needs, reactions to stress, etc. If you are aware of these things you are less likely to put them into situations which are beyond them or where the risk level is too great.
Disclosing the risk
This is an often neglected but very important technique for reducing risks both before and during activities. It is not sufficient for a teacher to be the only one possessing the knowledge of the route or contingency plans. Good leaders reveal to the participants as much as possible about the planned activity by, for example:
  • Actually telling the group the name of beach they will be going to for the day, and giving them maps of the area.
  • Letting them know what they should do if they are separated from the party.
  • Letting them know who is carrying emergency equipment and who has first aid skills.
Teaching by progression
This involves the teaching of a particular skill by breaking it down into its component parts and building upon each one thereby increasing the complexity of the task until an eventual goal is reached, e.g. in teaching navigation in a coastal environment, such steps might include:

Step 1 Indoor session with simple maps

Step 2 Practical session in immediate environment

Step 3 Indoor session with topographical maps

Step 4 Navigation exercise in open environment with clear boundaries

Step 5 Navigation session in coastal situation

Using this approach the students are very likely to learn the skills they need and to feel confident and therefore less likely, for example, to get lost when participating in field trip experiences.

Developing safety consciousness
As a teacher gains more experience in working with groups in the outdoors, there is usually a corresponding increase in their safety consciousness and awareness. It is crucial for all outdoor leaders that they never stop learning and questioning. Safety consciousness is not something you can pass (like a driving test) or pull out (like a pocket knife). It is an ongoing process of continually evaluating, applying skills and knowledge to new and changing situations, and exercising judgement in order to prevent incidents before they ever have a chance to develop.
Having the personal skills appropriate to the activity
Teachers should have the skills and experience appropriate to the activity before they take groups into the outdoors. If a teacher's skill levels are not much higher than the participants', they are unlikely to be able to cope if something goes wrong. Thus teachers should strive to keep a good safety margin between the skills of their students and their own skills.

In summary, some effective ways of reducing risks are:

There are many ways that a teacher can gain the appropriate skills and experience necessary to take on responsibilities for others in the outdoors:

5. Coping with Emergencies

Your planning should always take into account the possibility of an emergency. For example, you may have to spend the night out or a member of the party may be injured or lost. If you are to cope with one of these crises, you will need to be prepared with emergency shelter, spare food, adequate clothing, a first aid kit and knowledge of how to use it. If your risk management planning has been thorough, if you have kept the group involved and informed, if you have set a goal which is achievable in the conditions, then you are unlikely to have to cope with a major emergency. The success of any activity really relates to the preparation and planning which has gone into it beforehand.