The Allochthon of Misfit Toys

Anthony D Feig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study provides a narrative analysis of the challenges and opportunities faced by scholars in the field of geoscience education (GED). A set of interviews was conducted with five GED professionals in 2010. Participants discussed challenges and opportunities in GED both for individual practitioners and as a discipline. Select participants were interviewed again 2 years later to reflect on their earlier statements and describe subsequent developments in their thoughts, perceptions, and lived experiences. Participants also discussed, and revisited 2 years later, the GED research topics they considered to be of widespread interest and those they did not. Their notable results were unsurprising: Practitioners in 2010 battled for acceptance and legitimacy and continue to do so. Professional isolation remains a major perceived issue, as do career prospects and accessibility of GED publications. Practitioners face an ongoing struggle with a lack of formalized training in educational research methods. However, GED is perceived as a young, vibrant field in which practitioners enjoy healthy intraprofessional relationships and opportunities for collaboration. Participants agreed that abundant space exists in which to generate ideas and to collect and generate data. They also suggested that acceptance, perceived legitimacy, and professional respect are all increasing, albeit slowly. Challenges and opportunities were assembled into metaphorical models to illustrate the experiences and ontologies reported by the participants. Three recommendations are made for institutions and for aspiring and practicing GED workers: (1) repurposing of GED literature types, (2) addressing the disconnect between teaching reform and the tenure process through targeted marketing, and (3) formalizing and codifying training processes for GED professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11
JournalJournal of Geoscience Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013


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