North West Geography
Volume 17, Number 1, 2017
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Field-based teaching and learning is perhaps the most characteristic aspect of pedagogy in Geography and Environmental Science higher education. While it is clear that both staff and students place a high value on fieldwork it is not clear whether students and staff share the same views or prioritise the same factors in making this judgement. Here we surveyed staff and students at years 1-3 to demonstrate important differences in value judgements. Staff members ranked the importance of fieldwork in student recruitment much more highly than students themselves which may give cause to question the focus of many universities on ever-more exotic field destinations. Staff members were much more positive than students about the value of fieldwork in learning transferable skills and preparing students for final year research projects. Both staff and students were very positive about the value of fieldwork as a 'bonding' experience, particularly at first year level, supporting the common inclusion of fieldtrips in the early stages of degrees. Overall there was strong evidence that most students felt fieldwork was a valuable way to learn about the subject with responses highlighting many of the same key attributes as staff members.