New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Biology Teachers’ Views on the Importance and Means of Incorpoating Field Trips into their Curriculum

Yulia Ovtracht, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University (Israel)

Dina Tsybulsky, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University (Israel)

Abstract

This paper deals with Israeli high school biology teachers’ views on the importance and the means of incorporating field trips into their curriculum. Data collection consisted of 35 open-ended questionnaires and 14 semi-structured interviews with the teachers. The data were analysed using a qualitative constructivist-thematic method. Correlations were calculated between teachers’ characteristics (gender, degree, seniority) and their description of the importance of field trips, the characteristics of a good field trip and the difficulties faced while planning and conducting field trips.

On the importance of field trips as part of the biology curriculum, three categories were found within the teacher’s answers: cognitive, emotional and values-oriented. A negative correlation was found between the teacher's degree (B.A, M.A, Ph.D.) and years of experience and the importance of incorporating environmental values.

Teachers mentioned the following components as part of a good field trip: thorough preparation and summary in the classroom, interesting, related to the biology curriculum, incorporates scientific inquiry. A negative correlation was found between the years of teachers experience and the importance of the relevance of the curriculum.

The field trips sites teachers mentioned were ecological sites and teaching laboratories. A negative correlation was found between the years of experience and conducting field trips in ecological settings.

The main difficulties with conducting field trips were financial, organizational, and the need to “cover all the topics in the curriculum”. A negative correlation was found between the teacher’s degree and the need to specify the exact number of field trips in the curriculum.

By addressing the biology teachers' views, needs. and the difficulties that they face, the frequency and efficiency of field trips can be increased, thereby increasing the role of field trips in the school biology curriculum and improving the teaching of biology. Such factors as combining cognitive and affective elements, preparation and summary, financial problems etc. are only some of the issues that needed to be addressed in order to plan and execute a successive field trip.

KeywordsBiology education, teachers’ views, field trips;

References

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