6. Understanding geography teaching – pedagogical practices


6.1 Have current and extensive understanding of geographical education processes, including pedagogical content knowledge. They select, adapt and create field-specific and general teaching approaches and resources to support deep understanding of place, space and environments and they justify their choices about planning and teaching.

Focus questions:
  • What repertoire of strategies do you use in your geography teaching?
  • What range of learning experiences do you provide so that all students can learn?
Further questions:
  • What ideas and values inform your geography teaching?
  • What are the main influences on your approaches to geography teaching and your continuing geographical education?
  • How do you practice to achieve successful collaborative learning in geography?
  • Were there particular people that influenced your approach to geography teaching?
  • What were their plans for teaching geography?
  • In your view, why were they successful in teaching geography?
  • Describe practices that you have successfully used to assist students to learn the subject matter of geography.
Samples of practice

(a) Backdrop:
In this sample the teacher is explaining a geographical concept to a year 9 class of boys. They are developing an understanding of relative location (and absolute location) by considering and measuring the distance that the regional city of Geelong (Victoria) is from metropolitan Melbourne. What strategies are used by the teacher to assist the students to form an understanding of the concept?

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(b) Backdrop:
In this sample of accomplished teaching practice with a Year 9 class, the teacher describes in a post-lesson interview, the importance of fieldwork in the teaching of geography. The class have completed a field trip to several coastal locations. What are the elements of his teaching approach that he emphasises in this segment? Why does he maintain that this form of teaching “provides a link”?

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(c) 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. What mix of teaching strategies is used by the teacher in this lesson? Would you describe the task as mainly involving a complex division of student labour? If not, what other approaches are used?

Sample 8 GEOG 14 [ Contextual information]

(d) Backdrop:
The summary of key lesson events sets out the steps taken by a year 10 class as they become involved in a study of the aid links between Australia and five countries of the Asia Pacific region. How many different teaching skills are used by the teacher in this lesson? What are they?

Sample 8 GEOG 14 [1. Lesson summary Key lesson events]

Further links and resources
Description of pedagogical content knowledge:
“Shulman identifies four key areas of knowledge that teachers develop as they progress from college graduates to accomplished professionals: knowledge of  the key concepts and structure of a teaching subject (content knowledge); knowledge of relevant curriculum documents and supporting resources (curriculum knowledge); general pedagogical knowledge; and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK)…PCK includes not only knowledge of methods for representing and organising subject content to make it comprehensible to students, together with the specific strategies and activities for promoting student understanding in the subject domain, but also an awareness of the preconceptions of key concepts that students of different ages and backgrounds construct prior to formal instruction.”
Lane, R., (2009) Articulating the Pedagogical Content Knowledge of Accomplished Geography Teachers. Geographical Education 22: 40-41
See also:
Shulman, L. S., (1986) Those who understand: knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Research 15(2): 4-14
 
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: