Motivation and Connection to Earth on Geology Field Trips in New Zealand: Comparing American Study Abroad Students with Local Undergraduates
Field education is a critical and enriching component of the undergraduate geoscience curriculum, enhanced when combined with a study abroad program. The affective domain – defined in geoscience as emotion, motivation, and connection to Earth – is an integral part of the field experience. Using questionnaire data collected at the start of two geoscience field trips, this study compares motivation and connection to Earth of study abroad students from the United States with local New Zealand students. Results show that study abroad students have more expert-like motivations and ecological worldviews, and are more attached to and see more positive and diverse meanings in the field area. To take advantage of this and improve student outcomes, we recommend that this study abroad module be adapted to be more applied, environmentally-focused, and place-based. Findings highlight the importance of teaching and learning to specific study abroad students, rather than applying unchanged curricula from local institutions.
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