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Making geoscience fieldwork inclusive and accessible for students with disabilities

Alison Stokes, Anthony D. Feig, Christopher L. Atchison and Brett Gilley
Making geoscience fieldwork inclusive and accessible for students with disabilities
Geosphere (Boulder, CO) (December 2019) 15 (6): 1809-1825

Abstract

Fieldwork is a fundamental characteristic of geoscience. However, the requirement to participate in fieldwork can present significant barriers to students with disabilities engaging with geoscience as an academic discipline and subsequently progressing on to a career as a geoscience professional. A qualitative investigation into the lived experiences of 15 students with disabilities participating in a one-day field workshop during the 2014 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting provides critical insights into the aspects of fieldwork design and delivery that contribute to an accessible and inclusive field experience. Qualitative analysis of pre- and post-fieldwork focus groups and direct observations of participants reveal that multisensory engagement, consideration for pace and timing, flexibility of access and delivery, and a focus on shared tasks are essential to effective pedagogic design. Further, fieldwork can support the social processes necessary for students with disabilities to become fully integrated into learning communities, while also promoting self-advocacy by providing an opportunity to develop and practice self-advocacy skills. Our findings show that students with sensory, cognitive, and physical disabilities can achieve full participation in field activities but also highlight the need for a change in perceptions among geoscience faculty and professionals, if students with disabilities are to be motivated to progress through the geoscience academic pipeline and achieve professional employment.


EISSN: 1553-040X
Serial Title: Geosphere (Boulder, CO)
Serial Volume: 15
Serial Issue: 6
Title: Making geoscience fieldwork inclusive and accessible for students with disabilities
Affiliation: University of Plymouth, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Plymouth, United Kingdom
Pages: 1809-1825
Published: 201912
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
References: 75
Accession Number: 2020-001087
Categories: Miscellaneous
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 4 tables, sketch map
Secondary Affiliation: Central Michigan University, USA, United StatesUniversity of Cincinnati, USA, United StatesUniversity of British Columbia, CAN, Canada
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2020, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 2020
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