Environmental studies in the new Natal Education Department third and fourth phase geography syllabus, with particular reference to the standard ten syllabus : an evaluation.
The primary aim of this study is to attempt to evaluate by means of a case-study, the appropriateness of fieldwork as a way of teaching the new ecology section of the high school geography syllabus viz. 'Ecosystems, Environmental Balance and Conservation'. The study shows the value and importance of fieldwork to develop in pupils an awareness of environmental issues and conservation principles. Evidence collected during the course of the case-study is used to evaluate the nature of fieldwork. The case-study which comprises this thesis concerns the ecological and environmental fieldwork undertaken by a randomly selected sample of 24 standard ten higher-grade pupils studying geography at Glenwood High School in Durban during August 1987. The case-study site was the Pigeon Valley natural area in Glenwood, Durban. The fieldwork undertaken used a field-research approach recommended for use by senior high school pupils. Various conclusions and recommendations arising out of ecological fieldwork and the case-study evaluation, are presented. These include: 1) Fieldwork is a particularly appropriate method to use to teach this new section of the syllabus, as shown by pupil enjoyment and pupil success in completing the fieldwork tasks set them in the exercise. 2) Two fieldwork methods should be used - a traditional fieldwork approach for junior high school classes and a field research approach (with a built-in problem/issue based component) for senior high school classes. 3) Fieldwork is important not only as a substitute for systematic teaching of the section but also for revision purposes. 4) Case-study evaluation and the use of triangulation are appropriate for the purposes of this study. This study is presented as a contribution to geography teaching, in South Africa, particularly the area of fieldwork, but the qualitative nature of the study and the very nature of case-study research, however, prevent totally conclusive results from being obtained.