The Geographical Association’s (GA) Fieldwork and Outdoor Learning Special Interest Group (FOLSIG) is aware of a loss of confidence: in taking students out and arranging safe transport and also the time to organise visits or, simply, generate ideas on what to investigate.
The GA aims, together with our strategic partners (Discover the World Education; Environment Agency; Field Studies Council; Ordnance Survey) to support and inspire teachers to resume the benefits of outdoor education for all students with a National Fieldwork Week, to be held during the week beginning Monday 6th June 2020.
This will provide a focal point to encourage teachers to take students outside – in the school grounds, the local area or further afield.
It is hoped that the GA can inspire all teachers to enjoy being outside the classroom again.
A simple, common theme of ‘Change’ has been chosen. By now most areas will have experienced significant changes, many because of the pandemic: this will be an opportunity to come together as a subject community to look at these in relation to our own areas and share the outcomes, both in journal articles and through social media as well as locally.
What happens next?
- A series of resources and journal articles from the GA covering the current academic year, as well as information and activities are available on a dedicated section of the GA website.
- The GA Annual Conference 2022, recently held at the University of Surrey and online, included a number of fieldwork sessions. Some of these are available to download here.
- The GA’s strategic partners are supporting the project with information and activities.
- There will be a certificate of participation, for schools and the students who take part.
Organising the fieldwork
Not everyone will be able to take whole class groups out at one given time in the week so take part at a time to suit you – this could include a double lesson, and morning, afternoon and all-day slots, if possible.
The activities suggested provide ideas using a variety of timings. Students could be set the task of investigating change in their local area as a homework activity, pooling their evidence when they are back in class.
The emphasis should be on a critical look at change: environmental, human, physical or a mixture of all three.
This may uncover a wealth of first-hand evidence from families, local businesses, shops and the students themselves.
In the early stages of the pandemic everyone was encouraged to take exercise in their local area: but what kind of impact did this have on places?
Schools can showcase their findings by presenting a display in the school, local community hall or church hall.
This not only has the benefit of linking school and community but shows that the school is interested in and caring about changes which are happening in every part of our lives.
Topics to explore
- Changing shopping habits – how has this affected people, the environment and the shops themselves?
- Is shopping online always beneficial?
- Are new housing estates being built in our area? If so, where are they and what is driving their development?
- Is public transport well used? Why, or why not?
- What is the impact of working from home in our area?
- Has the high street changed in recent times?
- Have there been any changes in the countryside recently?
- How do individuals feel their lives have changed, short- and long-term?
Please put the date in your diary and encourage staff and students to take part. This is a wonderful chance to ensure fieldwork resumes its rightful place in the curriculum.
Find out more on the GA’s website.