6. Understanding geography teaching – pedagogical practices

6.4 Systematically introduce and develop a range of cartographic, statistical and graphical tools and skills that enable students to think and communicate geographically. This includes making and interpreting maps, and a range of other representations collectively described as graphicacy. They teach students to critically evaluate maps and other forms of representation.

Focus question:
  • How does the use of a range of graphicacy tools and skills assist students to understand geography?
Further questions:
  • When introducing students to the theme ‘maps and mapping’, how would you explain the difference between a tool and a skill as applied to this theme? Give an example of each.
  • How do you assist students to identify bias, opinion and misuse of evidence when drawing on any of the geographical tools?
Samples of practice

(a) Backdrop:
In this sample of a Year 9 class, the teacher gives an account of the teaching preparation she has made, and the data broadsheet that she has produced, to support several lessons explaining and developing understanding of concepts like location and region. Does the data broadsheet introduce students to a range of cartographic, statistical and graphical tools? If so, how specifically does it do this?

play video iconClick here to view this video sample

(b) Backdrop:
In this slide a student comments on the teacher’s approach in a year 9 class using a data broadsheet and responds to the question How did the lesson help your learning?
What are the student’s key points regarding the way in which his learning has benefitted from the teacher’s approach? Was this student learning to interpret and evaluate geographical data?

Sample 1 GEOG 01 [5. Sample 1 Student voice Slide 9]

(c) Backdrop:
This sample is a data broadsheet about Geelong. The teacher used it to teach skills and to raise awareness of the various roles that Geelong plays as a regional centre. As well as visiting Geelong to gather data, the teacher compiled the broadsheet using information from the Geelong Chamber of Commerce and sports, atlases, the internet, the Bureau of Meteorology, newspapers and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Does the data broadsheet demonstrate this teacher’s understanding of communicating geographically? If so, how specifically does it do this?

Sample 2 [4. Curriculum material Broadsheet of Geelong (pdf)]

(d) Backdrop:
In the contextual information for this lesson it is explained that a year 10 class is engaged in a study of the aid links between Australia and five countries of the Asia Pacific region.
One of the tasks for this class is to use the information previously gathered as well as that provided by the teacher. The students work in different groups (computer-based and paper-based) to create a poster. Does the use of two sources of data, that is information gathered by the students and provided for them, demonstrate this teacher’s understanding of communicating geographically? If so, how specifically does it do this?

Sample 8 [Contextual information]

Further links and resources
book imageAGTA, (2008) Keys to Geography Melbourne: Australian Geography Teachers’ Association Inc.
This skills text and CD ROM, is written by some of Australia’s leading geography teachers. It is for use in junior school geography and includes many descriptions and examples of essential skills and tools.
ISBN: 9780732990169

For further information go to: http://www.agta.asn.au/resources/index.htm

1. Knowing geography and geography curriculum
Accomplished geography teachers: 
2. Fostering geographical inquiry and fieldwork
Accomplished geography teachers:
3. Developing geographical thinking and communication
Accomplished geography teachers:
4. Understanding students and their communities
Accomplished geography teachers:
5. Establishing a safe, supportive and intellectually challenging learning environment

Accomplished geography teachers:

6. Understanding geography teaching – pedagogical practices
Accomplished geography teachers:
7. Planning, assessing and reporting

Accomplished geography teachers:

8. Progressing professional growth and development

Accomplished geography teachers:

9. Learning and working collegially

Accomplished geography teachers: