3. Developing geographical thinking and communication

3.5 Encourage students to recognise their personal geographies and to use these lived experiences as an entry point to understanding the complexities of the contemporary world, seen through events and issues arising at personal, local, national and global scales.

Focus question:
  • How can learning school geography shape students’ thinking about complex and controversial issues?
Further questions:
  • How do you present the subject to show your understanding of the perspectives of the communities to which the students belong?
Samples of practice

(a) Backdrop:
In this pre-lesson interview sample the teacher explains how the fieldwork activity starts with the students’ personal geographies. How does the teacher plan to link the students’ classroom thinking with the fieldwork?

play video iconClick here to view this video sample

(b) Backdrop:
In this slide a student responds to the question: “Does learning in other subjects relate as much to the world around you?”
What are the student’s key phrases that provide support for the inclusion of this standard for an accomplished geography teacher?

Sample 5 GEOG 06 [4. Student voice Slide 8]

Further links and resources

“ One of the tasks that we do a couple of times (on fieldwork) is tunnel vision. Tunnel vision is … it’s actually the opposite. [Anti tunnel vision] We live in a world, if you think about it, we go around (in) the world, walking round like this (head down, Steve’s hands are held to his face, narrowing his vision) and you only see what’s directly in front of you, where you’re heading from A to B and you miss all the detail. In fieldwork, we walk like this (arms outstretched wide, head up) and we see everything. And we see the links between (everything). It’s the same thing when we do a tunnel vision (activity); we’ll be going down (to the coast) and we’ll be doing the tunnel vision (activity) in the bus. So for a period of time in the bus, at points, we’ll be observing what’s taking place on the land either side of us. Right? So that’s what a tunnel vision exercise is. … Your route to school is the tunnel vision you do everyday and never really think about. It’s your personal geography; your map of your route to the school.”

Teacher, talking about fieldwork at the coast

Description of the benefits for students of contemporary contexts in geographical education:
“Students identified a number of connecting features which helped their learning. Making links to prior learning and providing opportunities for students to make connections with their experiences and those of their peers were important. This frequently occurred during discussion. Contemporary links to current world events were mentioned. Students also liked teachers who used ‘stories’. Sometimes these were stories designed to personalise abstract concepts. More commonly stories commenced when the teacher told personal accounts of their life experiences which related to the lesson. This resonated with the students at an interpersonal level giving insights to the teacher. As well teachers’ personal stories may serve to demonstrate the benefit of the topic and make visible a component of how the teacher had constructed their knowledge”.
Kriewaldt, J.& Hutchinson, N. (2009) Improving Understanding of Accomplished Teaching in School Geography Through and Examination of Learners’ Perspectives. Geographical Education 22: 32

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: