8. Progressing professional growth and development

8.2 Recognise that the subject of geography is dynamic and evolving and therefore seek opportunities to further develop their disciplinary knowledge base.

Focus questions:
  • How do you continue to develop the knowledge base of your discipline?
  • How do you maintain your knowledge of changes in geography as a subject?
Samples of practice

(a) Backdrop:
In this sample of accomplished teaching practice with a Year 9 class, the teacher describes the teaching preparation she has made and the data broadsheet that she has produced. The data she gathered for the broadsheet demonstrates the way in which the discipline is continually evolving. How specifically did this teacher continue the development of her knowledge base in preparation for this lesson?

play video iconClick here to view this video sample

(b) Backdrop:
In this slide, a student explains how the teacher used an animation sourced from the internet and how this helped the student’s understanding of river landforms and the processes of erosion, transportation and deposition.Does the slide show that the teacher understands the dynamic and evolving nature of the discipline? If so, what specific phrase, used by the student, does this?
Sample 5 GEOG 06 [4. Student voice Slide 1 and 7]

Further links and resources

Description of what it means to become spatially literate:
“The time is opportune to have a few answers about what makes geography geography. For example is the study of earthquakes in science all that different to the way it is studied in geography. I hear us all say no, it is different, but how, can we enunciate the difference? If scientists talk of inter-relationships, linkages and change, how do geographers treat it differently? Such questions have been the catalyst for geographers around the world to develop descriptions and perspectives which make the discipline of geography unique and a different way of studying events, phenomena and features across space over time. Space and place studies are increasingly being described as an opportunity to develop spatial thinking and spatial literacy. These terms seem to be interchangeable depending on where you are. That is geographers in the United States tend to use the term spatial thinking, whilst geographers in the United Kingdom seem to prefer the spatial literacy terminology. Quite geographical really, or rather spatially diverse! The word spatial is certainly part of the efforts to describe what geography is and wonderful documents have been produced which have used the term eloquently to show the focus and perspectives of geography in spatial terms. For example the International Charter on Geographical Education sees geography as asking the following questions:

  • Where is it?
  • What is it like?
  • Why is it there?
  • How did it happen?
  • What impact does it have?
  • How should it be managed for the mutual benefit of humanity and the natural environment?

Pursuing the answers to these questions necessitates investigating the location, situation, interaction, spatial distribution and differentiation of phenomena on the earth…This enunciation of geography in spatial terms is fortuitously happening at the same time as the generation of spatial technology tools has developed beyond our greatest geographical fantasies. What would have been made of spatial technologies such as Google Earth and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) back in the 1970’s when many of today’s teachers started their academic or teaching careers in geography. Needless to say, the words mind-boggling, disbelief and playtime come to mind!...One of our challenges as geographers in the 21st century is to disseminate to the education and general and general community the nature of geographical/spatial thinking and to ensure that spatial literacy is seen as a necessary capability for all citizens. With over 80% of data now being attached to space through the power of spatial technology, spatial literacy is quite rightly seen as imperative for and empowered, informed and functional citizenry.

McInerney, M. (2008) Becoming Spatially Literate: What Makes Geography Geography. Geographical Education 21: 39

See also:
International Geographical Union Commission on Geographical Education (ICU-CGE), (1992). International Charter on Geographical Education.
Accessed at: http://www.igu-cge.org/charters_1.htm (Accessed April 2010)

International Geographical Union Commission on Geographical Education (ICU-CGE)

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: