Using a Field Trip Inventory to Determine If Listening to Elementary School Students' Conversations, While on a Zoo Field Trip, Enhances Preservice Teachers' Abilities to Plan Zoo Field Trips

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Catherine E. Matthews, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: This study investigated whether listening to spontaneous conversations of elementary students and their teachers/chaperones, while they were visiting a zoo, affected preservice elementary teachers' conceptions about planning a field trip to the zoo. One hundred five preservice elementary teachers designed field trips prior to and after listening to students' conversations during a field trip to the zoo. In order to analyze the preservice teachers' field trip designs, we conducted a review of the literature on field trips to develop the field trip inventory (FTI). The FTI focused on three major components of field trips: cognitive, procedural, and social. Cognitive components were subdivided into pre-visit, during-visit, and post-visit activities and problem-solving. Procedural components included information about the informal science education facility (the zoo) and the zoo staff and included advanced organizers. Social components on student groups, fun, control during the zoo visit, and control of student learning. The results of the investigation showed that (a) the dominant topic in conversations among elementary school groups at the zoo was management, (b) procedural components were mentioned least often, (c) preservice teachers described during-visit activities more often than any other characteristic central to field trip design, (d) seven of the nine characteristics listed in the FTI were noted more frequently in the preservice teachers' field trip designs after they listened to students' conversations at the zoo, and (e) preservice teachers thought that students were not learning and that planning was important.

Additional Information

International Journal of Science Education, 35(15), 2645-2669
Language: English
Date: 2013
Field trip, Preservice teachers, Elementary students, Conversations, Zoos, Informal education, Teacher education

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