How can field trips foster both connection and knowledge of local places? What are the advantages of embodied learning? How can we cultivate observational skills at every level of education? Students often remember field trips as a highlight of their learning experience and local outdoor field trips are a potential tool for decolonizing pedagogies.
Cycling as method
in our first field course, WasteScapes, we chose cycling as method. Not only does cycling offer a unique way of experiencing a place, but it’s a transportation alternative that aligns with Montreal’s zero waste agenda. We asked students to select a site and visit it repeatedly. We offered prompts as a way of engaging with the place.
Field writing as method
Our second field course was about writing in place and we used the method of repeat site visits and observation prompts as a way of knowing by writing.
We asked students in our interdisciplinary course to create a text and image essay of the site they visited using creative prompts such as “What is the “surround” of the site you have chosen?. What are the infrastructures in view? What absences or silences can you discern? Speculate on the relation between the site and its surround. Here are two sample students responses: