Teaching focus in Geology - transforming from descriptive to deductive

Monday 1:45pm REC Center Large Ice Overlook Room
Oral Presentation Part of Course Design and Interactive Learning


Biju Longhinos, Institute for Advanced Studies in Climate Change (IASCC)
Geology is a very young science. Its scientific character has a history of hardly three centuries. It is the last offshoot among natural sciences that sprang from geography/astronomy/philosophy. Therefore the common essence ( philosophical discourse ) of the mother subjects predominates in geology over the step wise deductions followed in main stream basic sciences. Hence teaching of Geology at undergraduate levels, even being a science, remains largely descriptive than deductive. All across India, the subject Geology, at undergraduate level of studies, is introduced first by describing land forms- the morphs and their evolution. It gives an impression that the components we study in the subject are 'pre-determined' - descriptive and definition based. The cause-effect relation under natural conditions are least, therefore, not covered in the learning process. The students, with a background of studying Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics where cause- effect relations are experimented and theorized rather than philosophically mystified, usually wonder at Geology being called as a science. They lose the quest without gaining any scientific insight of natural systems. The reason lies in the teaching methodology. This paper intends to bring necessary transformation in teaching of Geology from simple descriptive form to a field based deductive one, enabling the undergraduate students to skip confusion and adopt appropriate learning method.