Location

Smyth 146

Event Website

http://www.cpe.vt.edu/cuenr/index.html

Start Date

27-3-2010 2:30 PM

End Date

27-3-2010 3:00 PM

Description

Study abroad programs taking students from the U.S. to other nations have grown in recent years, both in terms of the number of programs and participants. As international education becomes more extensive and popular, approaches to teaching and learning have evolved as well, including various approaches to reflection as a learning tool. Student reflection in general and the DEAL Model (Ash & Clayton, 2009) in particular appear to be well suited to generate, deepen, and document learning in nature‐based study abroad courses. International education typically exposes students to places and cultures different from their own. In the context of natural resources education, experiences abroad can contribute significantly to their understanding of and appreciation for the role played by cultural norms and history in shaping attitudes toward and practices in natural environments. Critical reflection is a powerful tool to help students move beyond the simple recognition of obvious differences they are experiencing in the host culture and to facilitate deeper learning whereby they can make connections and actively consider the meaning of what they are experiencing as individuals and for their home culture. Without such reflection, students in study abroad programs may have memorable experiences, but ones that are far more superficial than might otherwise be the case. By coupling the excitement and dissonance typical of international education with intentionally designed nature‐based service experiences and reflection, more significant impacts can be achieved, particularly related to civic engagement and global citizenship. This session will examine a 3.5 week, 6‐credit multidisciplinary course, “Sustaining Human Societies and the Natural Environment in Australia,” which examined the ecology, natural resource management, conservation efforts and related social history in northeastern Australia. Student oral and written reflection exercises were incorporated into the course in 2006, and refined in 2007 and 2008 based on scholarly collaborative analysis of the resultant student products in light of the desired learning objectives. In 2008, students were asked to write a reflective essay on course expectations during their first day in country and participated in guided reflection exercises during the course. In addition to objective questions designed to assess lower levels of learning (e.g., identification and description in Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956)), a written reflection essay was included a written final examination. These essays enabled instructors to assess students’ understanding of course concepts and issues surrounding sustainability of human cultures and the natural environment in northeastern Australia, up to the levels of synthesis and evaluation in Bloom’s Taxonomy. Having experienced a progression in the use of reflection as a learning tool, instructors plan to continue its use as a means to stimulate long‐term learning and impacts.

Comments

Citation: Moore, A.C., R.L. Moore, P. Clayton. 2010. Reflection as a learning tool in a nature based study abroad course. UENR Biennial Conference, Session Study Abroad, Paper Number 1. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/Sessions/Abroad/1/.

 
Mar 27th, 2:30 PM Mar 27th, 3:00 PM

Reflection as a Learning Tool in a Nature ­Based Study Abroad Course

Smyth 146

Study abroad programs taking students from the U.S. to other nations have grown in recent years, both in terms of the number of programs and participants. As international education becomes more extensive and popular, approaches to teaching and learning have evolved as well, including various approaches to reflection as a learning tool. Student reflection in general and the DEAL Model (Ash & Clayton, 2009) in particular appear to be well suited to generate, deepen, and document learning in nature‐based study abroad courses. International education typically exposes students to places and cultures different from their own. In the context of natural resources education, experiences abroad can contribute significantly to their understanding of and appreciation for the role played by cultural norms and history in shaping attitudes toward and practices in natural environments. Critical reflection is a powerful tool to help students move beyond the simple recognition of obvious differences they are experiencing in the host culture and to facilitate deeper learning whereby they can make connections and actively consider the meaning of what they are experiencing as individuals and for their home culture. Without such reflection, students in study abroad programs may have memorable experiences, but ones that are far more superficial than might otherwise be the case. By coupling the excitement and dissonance typical of international education with intentionally designed nature‐based service experiences and reflection, more significant impacts can be achieved, particularly related to civic engagement and global citizenship. This session will examine a 3.5 week, 6‐credit multidisciplinary course, “Sustaining Human Societies and the Natural Environment in Australia,” which examined the ecology, natural resource management, conservation efforts and related social history in northeastern Australia. Student oral and written reflection exercises were incorporated into the course in 2006, and refined in 2007 and 2008 based on scholarly collaborative analysis of the resultant student products in light of the desired learning objectives. In 2008, students were asked to write a reflective essay on course expectations during their first day in country and participated in guided reflection exercises during the course. In addition to objective questions designed to assess lower levels of learning (e.g., identification and description in Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956)), a written reflection essay was included a written final examination. These essays enabled instructors to assess students’ understanding of course concepts and issues surrounding sustainability of human cultures and the natural environment in northeastern Australia, up to the levels of synthesis and evaluation in Bloom’s Taxonomy. Having experienced a progression in the use of reflection as a learning tool, instructors plan to continue its use as a means to stimulate long‐term learning and impacts.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/Sessions/Abroad/1