Enhancing the development of sense of place using reflective field journal techniques during a Traveling School semester

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


This project evaluated the effects of field journaling techniques in the natural science class at The Traveling School. Students that participate in a Traveling School semester are inclined to make strong connections to the areas they travel in by learning about their surroundings. This study examined the impact of specific techniques that enhanced metacognitive reflection through field journaling techniques and formative assessment. These teaching techniques impacted not only students sense of place in southwestern Africa, but also student development of sense of place when they returned to their home town/region at the end of the semester. Each student participated in surveys measuring place attachment and place meaning for their home town/region. Additionally, students participated in interviews and questionnaires. Colleagues provided best practices of teaching with science field journals, as well as input on formative assessment techniques. Surveys pre and post treatment showed minimal overall change in student perceptions of sense of place. Interviews, observations and colleague feedback showed support that field journaling techniques enhanced student learning and connection to their home town/region.




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