Recognition of our teaching practices at the 19th World Congress of Soil Science.

12 August 2010

The Australian Soil Science Society awarded Damien Field the Best Oral Presentation prize for his talk, 'Producing the Thinking Soil Scientist', delivered at the 2000-delegate 19th World Congress of Soil Science held in Brisbane. In his presentation Damien developed the Teaching-Research-Industry-Learning (TRIL) framework, which promotes the ideas that best results are achieved when students actively participate in their learning and this is supported by teachers being in favour of facilitation. The data used to support this framework was based on surveying the five Australian Universities, including Sydney, participating in an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Project. 


TRIL was illustrated with teaching practices commonly used currently in soil science such as lecturing, practical classes, field work teaching and case-based learning. The third dimension of the framework incorporates problem-based learning as an approach, which his colleagues Alex McBratney, Balwant Singh and Stephen Cattle have developed to structure the senior soil science unit of study The Soil at Work (SOIL3010). In this environment the students interact with external stakeholders in the 'real world' to identify the major issues and problems. Working collectively the students, stakeholders and staff negotiate what are the major issues or problems and the students are expected to design and manage the process of investigating this, delivering outcomes that are relevant to the stakeholders concerned.   


When asked about how he felt on receiving this award he said, "I am very honoured that the congress delegates thought that my presentation was worthy of this award and I hope that the key messages will have some affect the way we teach soil science." He went on to say, "… more importantly this year this World Congress is the focus for the students enrolled in The Soil at Work. The students are here to report on the major themes and challenges to soil science being addressed at the congress and, significantly, they are interviewing international and Australian delegates to gauge their opinion on key soil science and policy topics."  

Contact: Dr Damien Field

Phone: 02 9351 2527

Email: 5027591c1d575d17421039252d45490a2631367c160131403b1c