Module 4


Using the Environment and Community
as a Resource for Learning in Coastal
and Marine Studies





Activity 1


Activity 2 The Purpose, Nature and Scope of Fieldwork Activity 3 Planning for Effective Fieldwork

Activity 4

Risk Management

Activity 5 The Purpose, Nature and Scope of Community Based Learning Activity 6 Coastcare


1. Introduction

In this icebreaker activity, called the 'Catch Name Game', participants form a large circle. The facilitator states his/her name and adds a statement about field studies or community resources for coastal and marine studies. For example, the facilitator may state, "My name is ..... and my favourite place for field studies in coastal and marine studies is ......". The facilitator then throws a soft marine toy to a person in the circle who states his/her own name and makes a statement about coastal and marine studies fieldwork or community resources (e.g. My name is ...... and I often invite speakers to visit my class"). He/she then throws the toy to someone else. The activity continues until all participants have received the toy and made their statement.
  • Introduce the objectives and major activities in the workshop using OHT 1 and OHT 2.

2. The Purpose, Nature and Scope of Fieldwork

  • Distribute a copy of Resource 1 which is the dialogue of a short story set in a staffroom. Choose three participants to act (or if they are shy, read out) the parts of the three teachers.

  • In debriefing, ask participants to identify some assumptions about fieldwork which are evident in staffroom discussions.

  • Present a mini-lecture on the purpose, nature and scope of fieldwork using OHT 3, OHT 4A, OHT 4B, OHT 4C and OHT 5 and Reading 1. The main points to be raised in this mini-lecture are:

Note to facilitators: During the mini-lecture, ask participants for examples of their fieldwork experiences which might illustrate the points and, of course, also give examples from your own experience. The OHTs and Reading 1 could also be photocopied and provided to participants as a resource.

3. Planning for Effective Fieldwork

  • Divide participants into groups of four and explain that this activity requires them to consider the practical implementation of the ideas presented in the mini-lecture.

  • Ask each group to decide on a fieldwork destination for a class activity, (e.g. rocky shore, dune system, coastal wetland). Ask them to be as specific as possible, e.g. a fieldtrip for 30 Year 7 students to a rocky shore at (for example) Ballinka Point.

  • Ask the groups to develop a list of issues they would need to consider when planning this fieldwork. These issues should relate to the preparation that students and teachers need before embarking on fieldwork. Allow 10 minutes for this.

  • Display OHTs 6A and 6B and ask participants if they identified any additional issues. Ask participants if there are any issues on the list they did not consider. If not yet raised, draw their attention to the issue of risk which is the focus of the next activity.

4. Risk Management

  • Ask participants to share any of their personal experiences/stories of fieldtrips and the dangerous risks they have experienced. Allow about 5-10 minutes for this.

  • Distribute a copy of Resource 2. Resource 2 is a risk analysis matrix on which participants identify some of the potential risk factors associated with a fieldtrip to the beach and some of the risk management strategies they could use for such a field trip. Examples are provided as starting points.

  • Ask participants to work in their groups from the previous activity to complete a risk analysis matrix for the class visit to the destination they chose. Ask the groups to first complete the list of 'possible undesired events'. Ask for reports so that a comprehensive list of risks is developed.

  • Give participants 10-15 minutes to fill in the other sections of the matrix.

  • Display and discuss OHT 7 which is a completed risk analysis matrix for a field study at a rock pool. Ask participants to add any factors and strategies that they have discussed which are not listed on OHT 7.

  • Use OHT 8 and Reading 2 to review and consolidate the principles of risk management. This reading could also be copied for participants to take with them at the conclusion of the workshop.

5. The Purpose, Nature and Scope of Community Based Learning

Introduce this activity by explaining that there is a variety of people and organisations that could be used as resources for learning in coastal and marine studies. Furthermore, there are some basic principles that must be taken into consideration when using the community as a resource for learning. Explain that a range of these will be explored in this activity.


  • Cut out the cards on people, organisations and principles on Resources 3 and Resource 4. Place them in the 'rock pool' (use a clear bowl or aquarium).

Running the Activity

  • Invite participants, one by one, to pick a card out of the rock pool and read it to the group.

  • After all the cards have been read, ask participants to divide themselves into one of two groups ('Community Resources' or 'Principles') that they think their statement best fits into.

  • Next ask each of these large groups to break into 3-4 sub-groups according to criteria/categories of their choice. In order for this to happen, participants will need to decide on the ways in which they are related or identify common features (e.g. the sub-groups might be NGOs, government bodies, principles related to preparing speakers, or principles related to preparing students, etc.).

  • In debriefing this activity ask groups to report on the criteria for their sub-group's selection. Some questions that could be asked include:
    • What did the members of each group have in common?
    • Were there any people that did not fit into a sub-group?
    • Did each person fit into only one sub-group?
    • Can any other people or principles be added to their group?
    • How are the principles related to people and organisations?

  • Ask participants to identify any resources in the community that they can access that were not in the 'rock pool'.

  • Show OHT 9 to illustrate the wide variety of community resources available for coastal and marine studies.

  • Refer participants to the possibilities of the WWW and the variety of community resources and information which can be accessed through the Internet. (See Resource 9 in Module 8 for a set of suitable WWW sites for coastal and marine studies.)

6. Coastcare

The purpose of this activity is to introduce participants to one community action program, Coastcare, in order to provide an example of a community resource that is available.

A. Introduction to Coastcare

Introduce this activity using OHT 10 to outline the nature, objectives and variety of Coastcare projects. Emphasise the role of community based groups such as Coastcare in identifying issues and problems in coastal and marine regions and in providing an opportunity for people to work together to develop and implement strategies to solve problems.

Note to facilitators: In some instances participants in the workshop may be experienced in Coastcare activities. If this is the case, consider using their expertise in this part of the workshop. You could contact these people (or other Coastcare group members) before the workshop and ask them to give a short presentation on:

  • the activities of Coastcare in their area;
  • their particular experiences within Coastcare; and/or
  • the effects of Coastcare projects in which they have been involved.

B. Analysing a Case Study

  • Divide participants into groups of 3-4 members. Give each group one of the case studies in Resource 5 or Resource 6. Ask groups to read and discuss their case study using the following questions:

    • How does the case study make you feel about coastal and marine issues?
    • What were the most important steps in tackling the marine and/or coastal problems?
    • Could the group have taken any other actions to address the problem?
    • Could this approach be successful with any school or community group? Why?
    • How can communities and schools be encouraged to co-operate in solving coastal and marine problems?
    • What skills do you have that would enable you to teach a Coastcare program?
    • What other skills do you need? Who could help you?
    (These questions appear at the end of each case study.)

  • Distribute the list of Coastcare contacts and related community contacts in Resource 7, and advise participants to contact their local Coastcare facilitator before any Coastcare activities are incorporated into their teaching.

  • Resource 8 is a contact listing for the Marine and Coastal Community Network which is an excellent grouping of community facilitators.

Note to facilitators: See OHT 4 and Reading 1 in Module 2 for guidelines on involving members of Aboriginal communities as resource persons in coastal and marine studies.