Teaching Complex and Controversial Issues: Importance of In-Situ Experiences in Changing Perceptions of Global Challenges

Goodenough, Anne E ORCID: 0000-0002-7662-6670, MacTavish, Lynne, MacTavish, Dougal and Hart, Adam G ORCID: 0000-0002-4795-9986 (2023) Teaching Complex and Controversial Issues: Importance of In-Situ Experiences in Changing Perceptions of Global Challenges. World, 4 (2). pp. 214-224. doi:10.3390/world4020015

12545 Goodenough, MacTavish, MacTavish, Hart (2023) Teaching complex and controversial issues - importance of in-situ experiences in changing perceptions of global challenges.pdf - Published Version
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Engaging people with controversial and emotive issues that are inherently complex is challenging, especially when those issues are multifaceted or multidisciplinary, span environmental, economic, social, and political contexts, are global in scope, or where circumstances and implications differ spatially. Teaching such issues requires teachers and learners to navigate a challenging landscape of nuance and conflicting perspectives; immersive place-based learning might facilitate more meaningful exploration of such issues, but this has not previously been studied. In a multi-institution international study, we surveyed 164 participants (12 groups; 9 institutions) before and after an immersive fieldtrip in South Africa to assess perceptions on contentious issues. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests showed that participants had statistically significant opinion shifts for 17 of 18 statements, including those where change was likely due to improved knowledge or indicative of deeper attitude shifts. Generalised Linear Modelling revealed that propensity for opinion shifts was not influenced by demographics (age, gender), location (country of origin) or trip type (formal or informal). We conclude that in an increasingly complex world, context relevant immersive experiences that facilitate deep learning by providing opportunities to explore contentious issues in situ are an ever-more valuable tool, not just for attainment but also for developing personal perspectives and as a catalyst for societal transitions.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Wildlife management; Sustainability; Contentious issues; Global challenges; Ethics; Opinion shifts; Disruptive Pedagogy; Context-relevant teaching; Residential fieldwork
Related records:
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Anna Kerr
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2023 14:45
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:57
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/12545

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