Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/144104
Title: “BEING THERE” A GEOGRAPHICAL STUDY OF FIELD-BASED LEARNING IN CROSS-CULTURAL HOMESTAYS AND ITS TRANSFORMATIVE POTENTIAL
Authors: Erlin Oktavia
Keywords: Fieldwork, embodiment, cross-cultural homestays, emotions, experiential learning, transformative learning,
Issue Date: 2016
Citation: Erlin Oktavia (2016). “BEING THERE” A GEOGRAPHICAL STUDY OF FIELD-BASED LEARNING IN CROSS-CULTURAL HOMESTAYS AND ITS TRANSFORMATIVE POTENTIAL. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Field-based learning, with elements of experiential, embodied and affective learning, is widely regarded as central to the learning of geography in higher education. Field Studies 2015, a six-week field-based module by the Geography department of the National University of Singapore, immersed students in cross-cultural homestays in Northeast Thailand for a seven-day field research project. This thesis adopts ‘conversational’ interview and participant observation methods to explore the transformative potential of undertaking field-based learning in cross-cultural homestay context. I contend that the embodied experience of the homestay is transformative for students, in terms of their perception(s) and approach(es) towards learning and encountering people. As they negotiate the ethical dilemmas of field research, students engage in reflexive and critical learning that extends learning beyond the instrumental, to reflect on their place in the world. Firstly, I look at how students had an embodied experience of the field through cross-cultural homestays. Secondly, using the concept of embodiment, I demonstrate how the embodied and personal encounters conceived through the homestay experience facilitate embodied and experiential learning for students. Thirdly, using Mezirow’s (1978) transformative learning theory that explores the relation between emotions and learning, I illustrate the transformative impacts of learning in cross-cultural homestay on students’ perceptions and approaches towards learning and encountering people, as they negotiate the ethical tensions of field research. This thesis contributes to current theoretical debates in two ways. Firstly, I show how embodiment and emotions can be used to understand the learning experience of students in field-based context. Hence, I contribute to limited discussions on the role of emotions in facilitating field-based learning. Secondly, I demonstrate how field-based learning in cross-cultural homestay contexts can be transformative for students, as they challenge the assumed neutrality of field-based learning endeavours when confronted with ethical dilemmas of field research through the concept of emotionality.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/144104
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