Geographic Inquiry For Citizenship: Identifying Barriers To Improving Teachers' Practice

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Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education




P-12 geography courses are often taught as a body of facts students should learn in order to be geographically literate. Geographers, however, typically think of their discipline as encompassing practices and core concepts that help people make sense of the world around them. In this article, we consider three teachers' pedagogical content knowledge in geography, specifically their knowledge and application of a problem-based geographic inquiry (PBGI) framework. We discuss the extent to which their classroom instruction reflected geographic practices and the cornerstones of geographic inquiry over the course of two years. Our findings suggest that 1) encouraging students to think beyond their current sense of place requires teachers to have a strong grasp of the cornerstones of geographic inquiry, 2) helping teachers to use PBGI strategies to promote geographic thinking for citizenship requires more models of exemplary practice than are currently available, and 3) developing pedagogical content knowledge for geography via professional development is critical but uniquely challenging.

Publication Title

The Journal of Social Studies Research

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