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Teaching in the Field

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Copyright: 2003
Trim: 6 x 9
Pages: 312 pp.
Illustrations: 7 illus.


Teaching in the Field

Working With Students in the Outdoor Classroom

Edited by Hal Crimmel

Nature and Environment

Taking students out of the classroom and into a variety of settings, ranging from remote wilderness sites to urban or built environments is now recognized as a valuable means of teaching ecological concepts and environmental values. But field studies are also a way of encouraging explorations across the curriculum, enhancing the teaching of life sciences, literature, and creative writing.

Teaching in the Field is the first volume to specifically survey field studies conducted through colleges and universities. The essays, arranged into three sections, offer rationales, pedagogical strategies, and foundational advice and information that broaden and strengthen the collective knowledge of this increasingly popular means of instruction. The essays present theoretical information within engaging, candid narratives that report on various aspects of field experiences, whether hour-long excursions or month-long trips.

Teachers of environmental studies, of English, composition, and creative writing, and of allied humanities and science disciplines, will find here a wealth of success stories and cautionary tales to guide them in envisioning their own outdoor classrooms.

Hal Crimmel is assistant professor of English at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.


Alan Brew, Northland College; Robert E. Burkholder, Penn State University; Katherine R. Chandler, St. Mary’s College; Laird Christensen, Green Mountain College; Lesley P. Curthoys, Lakehead University; Brent Cuthbertson, Lakehead University; Janet Dyment, Lakehead University; Terry Gifford, University of Leeds; Ed Grumbine, Sierra Institute; Bob Henerson, McMaster University; Steve Hoffman, University of St. Thomas; Corey Lewis, University of Nevada, Reno; Charles Mitchell, Elmira College; Barney Nelson, Sul Ross State University; Liz Newbery, York University; Tim O’Connell, Lakehead University; Tom G. Potter, Lakehead University; Britain A. Scott, University of St. Thomas; John Tallmadge, Union Institute; Fred Taylor, Vermont College; Allison B. Wallace, University of Central Arkansas; Andrew Wingfield, George Mason University

Table of Contents:

Teaching in the Field: An Introduction ~ Hal Crimmel

PART I. Why Go?: Justifying Teaching Outdoors
"To See Things in Their Wholeness": Consilience, Natural History, and Teaching Literature Outdoors ~ Robert E. Burkholder
Teaching the Desert: The Literature of Landscape in and out of Place ~ Charles Mitchell
Going to Basho's Pine: Wilderness Education for the Twenty-first Century ~ R. Edward Grumbine
Where Passions Intertwine: Teaching, Literature, and the Outdoors ~ Alan Brew
Engaging Nature: A Canadian Case Study of Learning in the Outdoors ~ Brent Cuthbertson, Janet Dyment, Lesley P. Curthoys, Tom G. Potter, and Tim O'Connell

PART II. Strategies for Teaching
Can't See the Forest or the Trees: Finding Focus ~ Katherine R. Chandler
Writing the Watershed ~ Laird Christensen
Teaching Environmental Values through Creative Writing with School Children ~ Terry Gifford
Going Out as a Way In: Social, Cultural, and Ecological Learning and the University Field Trip ~ Liz Newbery and Bob Henderson
On the Path, Off the Trail: Teaching Nature Writing as a Practice of the Wild ~ Fred Taylor
Road Trip: Self-Directed Field Work as a Learning Journey ~ Andrew Wingfield

PART III. Field Considerations: Issues to Consider in Planning and Execution
Facing the Challenge: Overcoming the Common Obstacles to Running a Successful Field Studies Course ~ Corey Lee Lewis
In Thoreau's Wake on the West Branch ~ Allison B. Wallace
Woodswomen and "Super Studs": Gender Issues in a Northwoods Environmental Studies Program ~ Britain A. Scott and Steven M. Hoffman
Building Community on a Budget in the Big Bend of Texas ~ Barbara "Barney" Nelson
Urban Nature as a Scene of Instruction ~ John Tallmadge

Annotated Bibliography

Praise and Reviews:

"Teaching in the Field is a wonderful resource, filled with good advice and uncommon wisdom, bound to become a staple in the library of every instructor involved with environmental studies."
—W. Scott Olsen, Concordia College

"For all of us who venture out under the sky with our classes, Teaching in the Field is an invaluable book. It combines a wealth of practical information about syllabi, assignments, and logistics with reflections on the ways in which field-based courses can transform a community of learners."
—John Elder, author of Reading the Mountains of Home

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