Initial Publication Date: November 29, 2012

Developing Field Skills and Habits

There are many ways of teaching field skills and habits to students in our programs. The information below provides some examples of pedagogical approaches and considerations that can be useful in determining the best way to help your students gain the benefits of learning in the field.

Ways of Teaching Skills

Case Study: Falls of the James: This page presents several video clips of Chuck Bailey's introductory geology class at the College of William and Mary on a field trip to the Falls of the James River. The video clips illustrate one effective approach to teaching geoscience in the field: assigning several short tasks to be completed in small groups, and revealing the correct solutions at the end of each task.

Teaching in the Field Across the Curriculum: This suite of pages brings together resources related to teaching particular disciplinary topics such as structural geology or geophysics in the field. The materials include a mixture of teaching activities, course descriptions, workshop presentations, and other community contributions.

Two-Year College Students in the Field: This page, developed for the Geo2YC website, presents perspectives on and resources for engaging 2YC students in field experiences - opportunities, challenges, benefits - from instructors who do it.

The Affective Domain

Students can have a range of affective responses to the prospect of simply going into the field, nevermind conducting some kind of inquiry when they get there. Taking the Affective Domain into consideration - factors such as student motivation, attitudes, perceptions and values - can help faculty and students get more out of the learning process. In his essay for the 2007 Affective Domain workshop, Dave Mogk (Montana State University) looks at several important affective aspects that particularly affect our students when we take them into the field.