The impact of fieldwork

Fieldwork has a number of impacts. It is useful to reflect on these when justifying the value to your Leadership Team or other teachers:

  • Cognitive impacts: concerning knowledge, understanding and other academic outcomes
  • Affective impacts: encompassing attitudes, values, beliefs and self perceptions.
  • Interpersonal/social impacts: including communication skills, leadership and teamwork.
  • Physical/ behavioural impacts: relating to physical fitness, physical skills, personal behaviours and social actions.

Read more about the impact of fieldwork by downloading the document: A review of research on outdoor learning

Fieldwork is important because:

  • students can experience the environment beyond the classroom
  • students can relate classroom work to the real world-‘from the 2D textbook to the 3D world’
  • students can gather primary data and relate it to secondary sources
  • students can develop their knowledge, understanding and respect for the environment
  • it encourages investigation, questioning and critical thinking
  • it encourages students to think spatially, use maps and new technologies such as GIS
  • it adds a temporal element into the students’ perception-present, past and future thinking
  • it is a key stage 1-3 requirement and a part of key stage 4 and 5 assessment
  • it develops the students’ ability to deal with uncertainly
  • it provides challenge for the student and the opportunity to taste acceptable levels of risk
  • it creates opportunities for the student to be creative and to have personalised outcomes, which gives them a sense of ownership of the learning process
  • it supports student momentum and enjoyment of geography
  • it is valuable for the teacher too. It builds on relationships through shared experiences and a concentrated experience.

Key GA resources

Fieldwork in primary geography

  • All you want to know about fieldwork - progression in local fieldwork, health and safety, school grounds, local and residential learning ideas.

Fieldwork Through Enquiry, by John Widdowson and Alan Parkinson.

  • This book, aimed at key stage 4, provides ten worked examples of projects which can be used with young people outside the classroom: five that are based in towns and cities, and five which explore rural or coastal contexts.


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