Working with the community: improving the learning experience for large classes

Waddington, Shelagh B. (2001) Working with the community: improving the learning experience for large classes. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 25 (1). 67–82.


The need for students to develop skills that are of use in the wider labour market, as well as those specifically related to their degree subjects, has been widely accepted for a considerable period of time. It has also been noted that unless these skills are practised and are contextualised they tend neither to be learned, except at the most superficial level, nor transferred to other situations where their use would be appropriate. This paper reports the use of projects extending over a number of sessions, involving working with local community groups, carried out within a discrete module specifically designed to facilitate the learning and practice of both geographical and transferable skills. The problems of providing an integrated approach to the learning of skills for a large group of students, with limited resources and in the context of timetable restrictions imposed by a two-subject degree structure, are addressed. The degree of learning perceived by the students is evaluated and suggestions are made for further development of this approach.

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