Reflections on the Efficacy of a Constructivist Approach to Teaching and Learning in a First-Year Bachelor of Environmental Management

Gertrude Szili, Jonathan Sobels

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The dynamism of Environmental Management in the 21st century has predicted the need for students to emerge from tertiary programmes with a set of skills that are functional and more widely applicable in the contemporary workplace. To foster the development of such tools and skill sets, there has been an increasing trend amongst teaching practitioners to move from objectivist to constructivist views of learning and teaching. Using the theoretical heritage of constructivism, we in this paper offer an example of the effectiveness of constructive alignment in teaching tools and assessment methods for first year Environmental Management students. Drawing inspiration from the successes reported by Biggs et al. (2010) and Park (2003), we offer further discussion on the merits of such approaches, but from a first-year undergraduate cohort. Through a discursive analysis of student writings and formal feedback received through course evaluation questionnaires, we in this paper demonstrate how this combination of teaching methods led to a cohort that actively participated in their own learning. The results revealed that such methods could be successfully implemented at earlier stages of Environmental Management degree programmes, to encourage normally pragmatic, minimalist work ethic, first-year students, to be active, enthusiastic learners both within and outside the University.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)499-512
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Geography in Higher Education
    Volume35
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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