Working and Learning in a Field Excursion
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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This study aimed to discern sociocultural processes through which students learn in field excursions. To achieve this aim, short-term ethnographic techniques were employed to examine how undergraduate students work and enact knowledge (or knowing) during a specific field excursion in biology. The students participated in a working practice that employed research methods and came to engage with various biological phenomena over the course of their work. A three-level analysis of the students’ experiences focused on three processes that emerged: participatory appropriation, guided participation, and apprenticeship. These processes derive from advances in practice-oriented theories of knowing. Through their work in the field, the students were able to enact science autonomously; they engaged with peers and teachers in specific ways and developed new understandings about research and epistemology founded on their experiences in the field. Further discussion about the use of “practice” and “work” as analytical concepts in science education is also included.