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PEOPLE + PLACE + PEDAGOGY = POSSIBILITIES: Critical reflections on a transdisciplinary field school experience in the Amazon Rainforest through a Lefebvrian Lens

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) Ed.D.
Date created
Author: Gagne, Lucie
This dissertation is an exploratory study of undergraduate students' perspectives on their experience of a transdisciplinary field school in the Amazon Rainforest of Colombia. The study focuses on students’ perspectives of their experience of the Amazon Interdisciplinary Field School (AIFS) offered by Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) in British Columbia, Canada. The AIFS provides students the opportunity to travel to the heart of the Amazon Rainforest and to engage in an intensive, cross-disciplinary field study experience for a period of two weeks. The Amazon region, one of the most biologically diverse areas on Earth, is rich in natural and cultural history; and given its essential role in the ecosystem of our planet, offers an ideal location to broaden the contextual examination of field school experiential education, to explore the link between theory and practice, and to further understand the roles that environment, context, and circumstance play in the student experience. The intent of the research was to examine how this short-term international experience contributes to a full-spectrum education, and provides purposeful, meaningful, and contextually grounded transformative learning by exploring the practices of experiential education within a non-formal and cross-cultural context. For the study, an analytical framework that conceptualized the field school in terms of ‘life spaces’ was developed through an interpretation of French philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre's (1974/1991) triad of social space. The objective was to explore the AIFS experience from a broad viewpoint, and to uncover new insights that could contribute to a better understanding of the impact of the field school experience on participants. The research sought to answer the question “what are the students’ perspectives on their experience, and how can they be described?” The goal was to comprehensively document student experiences, and present a rich, nuanced, and informative picture of the various perspectives, experiences, and stories as shared by the participants.
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This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Zandvliet, David
Thesis advisor: Xin, Cindy
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