Department of Social Sciences
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Phytoremediation through forestry may be an effective means for reducing the metal loading in lands reclaimed after surface-coal-mining in the UK. Planted with mixed woodland, the soil loading of 5 key metals (Zn, Cd, Mn, Pb and Cu) decreased, significantly and progressively, compared to soils left as grassland through a 14 year forestation chronosequence on land reclaimed from the former Varteg opencast coalmine, South Wales. Fourteen years after initial tree planting, soil metal loadings decreased by 52% for Cd (4.3 mg∙kg−1 per year), 48% for Cu (2.1 mg∙kg−1 per year), 47% for Zn (7.3 mg∙kg−1 per year), 44% for Pb. (7.1 mg∙kg−1 per year) and 35% for Mn (45 mg.kg-1 per year). Analysis of metal loadings in the leaves of Alnus glutinosa (L. Gaertn) (Common Alder) and Betula pendula (Roth) (Silver Birch) found both to be involved in metal uptake with birch taking up more Cd, Cu, Zn and Mn and Alder more Pb. Concentrations of Zn, Mn and Cd (Birch only) increased significantly in leaves from, but not in soils, under older plantings. Since different tree species take up metals at different rates, mixed plantings may be more effective in forest phytoremediation.
The increase in popularity of the scholarship of teaching and learning, and of pedagogic research in geography, is arguably one of the major changes within the discipline in recent years. A key role of the Journal of Geography in Higher Education (JGHE) is to support geographers interested in undertaking such work. Among the key research issues facing scholars of teaching and learning in Geography Higher Education are how to investigate the real character of the messages that geography teaching communicates to learners and how to discover the ways in which these messages can be made more useful, more effective and sometimes more affective. This Symposium focuses on techniques and methodologies for enhancing the development, evaluation and impact of geographical communication and on exploring the interactions between geographical communication and the ways that geographers learn. It derives from a special session at the International Conference of the Royal Geographical Society, which was co-sponsored by the Society's Higher Education Research Group and by the JGHE as a contribution to the larger pedagogic research methods component of the JGHE's “Resources” subsection.
Focusing on the peer review process, this guide for potential Journal of Geography in Higher Education (JGHE) authors suggests 10 golden ground rules for preparing a successful contribution to the JGHE. These are (1) have something interesting to say, (2) have something useful to say, (3) address your audience, (4) write with academic rigour, (5) listen to learner feedback, (6) ensure constructive alignment in your curriculum, (7) make your paper belongs to the journal's community of discourse, (8) respect the mission of the journal, (9) expect to be set revisions and (10) deal systematically with any revisions set.
AQAL is a methodology for the holistic mapping of multiple perspectives and worldviews. Developed by Ken Wilber and colleagues, AQAL Integral analysis is founded in AQ quadrant mapping, which assesses four viewpoints for every situation. These are the Interior Subjective intentional (I) perspective, the Interior Collective cultural (We) perspective, the Exterior Individual (It, she/he) behavioural perspective and the Exterior Collective (They, many, its) social perspective. Each AQ map may be further elaborated as part of a many-layered system. AQAL Integral has a small but growing footprint in Education and, independently, in Geography – especially Urban Studies and GIS.
The increasing focus of universities on employability is stimulating debates about the purpose of higher education. In this article, we consider what attributes society will demand from graduates in the future. We use Wilber's integral theory to tease out some of the issues in the current conceptualisation of graduate attributes and argue that we need to move away from the current emphasis on skills for jobs and individual, material betterment toward a more spiritual and world orientation. Education for the future needs to focus on an agenda of personal responsibility and on individual and social interior attributes and to move away from its present"exterior systems" focus. Graduate attributes need to address levels of concern that rise through the self and the social toward the welfare of the whole planet.
This paper describes an experiment in using film in teaching environmental philosophy to geography students, which employs a 20‐minute clip from the opening scenes of The Grapes of Wrath (directed by John Ford, 1940). Use is made of the ambiguity of the film's interpretation of conditions in rural Oklahoma during the ‘Dust Bowl’ years of the 1930s to challenge students to apply and illustrate the contrasting viewpoints supplied by a set of widely divergent environmental philosophies. The initial sections of the paper supply a brief note about using film in geographical higher education, before discussing the background to the extract seen by the students. We then provide detailed discussion of the structure and procedures in the classroom exercise, followed by comment on the changes that we have made in the light of experience and student evaluations. The conclusion summarises the lessons that we have learned from this exercise and comments on further use of film for teaching environmental philosophy.
The ‘Landscape Assay’ is a field study exercise which invites students to explore, understand and gain an appreciation of some of the variety of ways people interpret the world around them. It also aims to give students a deeper understanding of the causes of some environmental controversies. The term ‘assay’ has been chosen for this exercise because it links the exercise with concepts of assessment and judgement without connecting it too closely with established techniques of landscape evaluation. The exercise forms the final element in the module ‘Environmental Philosophy’, a third‐year synoptic course for undergraduate geographers. Different societies have developed an enormous variety of world‐views; the aim of this exercise is to allow students to explore sets of environmental values within the environs of Oxford. The exercise works with the pragmatic categorisation of world‐views or ‘world hypotheses’ developed by Stephen Pepper (1942). These are used throughout the course to provide a simplified conceptual framework by which students are able to compare schools of environmental thought. In this schema environmental philosophies are understood through a tripartite division into subjective‐spiritual, material‐objective and systemic‐holistic factors. Students are encouraged to see philosophies formed from these as complex and interrelated rather than mutually exclusive. Student teams are sent out to classify a set landscape into zones which are ‘good’, ‘bad’ or ‘indifferent’ according to the precepts of different, specific world‐views. Their interpretations are employed to initiate discussion of the contextual and culturally specific nature of value judgements. After the spoken presentation of each team's findings, the class as a whole is required to determine the core beliefs which guided each classification.
College students often have a limited appreciation of the way that the mass media construct images of place. This paper outlines a field simulation exercise that allows new geography students to confront the ways in which values shape media information. It requires students to take on the role of teams of journalists, working independently from one another, who are sent to an unfamiliar location to report on its landscapes and environments. It is so constructed that the teams unknowingly have been divided into two cultures: one seeking stories with an optimistic, upbeat character, the other searching for evidence of decline and decay. The aims and rules of the simulation are outlined, the necessary materials detailed, and the four phases of the exercise described. Possible extensions of the simulation are suggested.
Field study, widely regarded as an essential part of geographical higher education, is under severe pressure due to its high cost, resource demands and a legacy of poor educational practices that have left it on the fringes of the curriculum. This paper outlines a case study of an undergraduate module, framed around a field course, which seeks to integrate fieldwork into the curriculum by combining training in field study with training in research and presentation skills. The module employs group‐based project work throughout, with no items assessed individually. The paper concludes by pointing to the pedagogic and tactical advantages of the approach adopted, but warns against the overuse of group work.