University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

“The Bugs Were a Bit Rubbish” Critical Reflections on the Malawi 2016 Student Fieldcourse

Dixon, Alan ORCID: and Wooten, Tom (2016) “The Bugs Were a Bit Rubbish” Critical Reflections on the Malawi 2016 Student Fieldcourse. Project Report. University of Worcester. (Unpublished)

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The value of fieldwork as a means of delivering experiential teaching and learning is widely accepted across the geographical disciplines, and for many years Worcester’s Geography programmes have been commended for their provision of a diversity of field experiences that enhance student learning. In December 2016, Geography piloted a two-week fieldcourse to Malawi for final year students undertaking GEOG3136 ‘Environment and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa’. This has emerged from students requesting more international fieldwork opportunities, at a time when staff have significant collaborative research links with Malawi. The aim of the fieldcourse was to immerse students in experiential, research-led learning opportunities in a wide range of real sustainable development contexts. This SAP project sought to evaluate the learning impacts of the fieldcourse to identify lessons learned for future provision. Drawing on a series of individual and focus group conversations, and the written reflective journals of participants, the project revealed a range of ‘life-changing learning experiences’ for students. These were regarded as shaped through research-driven interactions and encounters with local people and NGOs in rural and urban contested spaces, as well as via experiencing the many logistical challenges of living and working in a developing country. Students also cited a much greater depth of understanding of the complex challenges facing sustainable development than would otherwise be achieved through classroom learning. Despite some significant challenges in developing and facilitating the fieldcourse, it has provided a unique and invaluable learning opportunity.

Item Type: Report (Project Report)
Additional Information:

The full text of the project report can be downloaded from this WRaP record.

This is an unpublished project report. © 2020 The Authors. This is an open access project report made available under the CC BY license (

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: fieldwork, students, Malawi, bugs, geography, fieldcourse
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Science and the Environment
Copyright Info: Open access
Depositing User: Alan Dixon
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2020 10:46
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2024 14:29

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