Geography fieldwork planning in a period of change 1985-1990
This study considers the planning process of the Geography fieldworkplanner. Arising from personal experience and from a review of relevant literature a number of different aspects of this process has been examined. Emphasis is on practical planning in a period of educational change. In essence the study identifies a balance between opportunity and constraint, between the ideal and what is practical. The research design,a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, is built upon a series of questionnaires and interviews involving schools, local education authorities and field study centres. This study,which covers the second half of the 1980's,has the value,therefore,of painting a picture of fieldwork provision,through an assessment of planning during a period of change. Questionnaires and interviews conducted with teacher-planners,pupils, local education authority representatives and field study centre staff raise a number of questions and reveal a complex inter-relationship of influencing factors,all of which affect the fieldwork picture. Results show that the commercialised fieldwork market is becoming wider, greater opportunities are now available for field study through a range it of approaches. Competition and market forces determined by supply and demand trends are setting out a new climate of fieldwork opportunity,supported by requirements of GCSE and 'A' Level syllabuses for outdoor study. However the picture also shows that the fieldwork planner is now faced with a much more complex planning environment in which to operate ,one which reveals a lower confidence level,a requirement for a greater input of energy,enthusiasm,expertise and time if fieldwork programmes are to be planned safely and successfully so as to achieve a set of predetermined geographical and educational aims and objectives. The balance between the two sets of forces creates the dynamic picture which is painted here. Although the onus to provide fieldwork in secondary schools is on the fieldwork planner the number of factors acting on the planning process is numerous and interrelated. A view of the completed picture provides opportunity to assess pointers which may well affect the provision of fieldwork in schools during the 1990's.