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Volume 10, Number 2

A Theoretical Model for Thematic Map Learning
Aicha Benimmas Volume 10 (2008), Number 2, Pages 5-40

Current thematic map styles used at the middle school level in Morocco are not adequately designed to give students the opportunity to improve their knowledge of and their critical thinking in geography. Also, there is an enormous lack of teacher training in cartographic rules and the pedagogical use of the thematic map, which keeps students' geographic reasoning at a low level. The author has designed a theoretical model linking geographic reasoning and cartographic language rules in order to address this issue. An experiment was conducted to test the efficacy of such a model on geographic learning with 7th grade students. Results indicate that the experimental group was significantly more likely to display higher post-test scores in map reading as well as in map design when compared with a control group. In addition, analyses of items failed by some students provide a detailed portrait of how they perceived and treated thematic map information. The purpose of this paper is to help in-service and pre-service teachers improve their teaching and the geographic learning of their students.

Keywords: Thematic map, geographic reasoning, cartographic rules, semiotic, theoretical mode.

Conceptions of Geography Teaching and Learning: A Qualitative Study with Nine Hong Kong Geography Teachers
Eva Chan and Tammy Kwan Volume 10 (2008), Number 2, Pages 41-65

This paper reports on a qualitative study which reveals the conceptions of geography teaching and learning held by nine secondary geography teachers. They are now currently undergoing the curriculum change process of the educational reform of Hong Kong. Six aspects are used as the framework to identify the conceptions through an array of literature review: Aims and Expected Outcomes of Teaching and Learning, Content of Teaching and Learning, Styles and Approaches of Teaching, Roles of Teachers, Roles of Students, and Context. Based on three sources of data including the written discourse, semi-structured interview, and the critical comment on a teaching scenario, five conceptions emerged, namely: Transmission of Geography Knowledge, Preparation for Examination, Development of Intellect, Cultivation of Values and Attitudes, and Fostering Interactions Between Teachers and Students. No single teacher possesses just one conception but often several of them are at work to affect their actual classroom practice. Teachers who possess more of the first two conceptions reveal a shaping orientation which is reactive to the Education Reform while those who hold the other three conceptions have a nurturing or social orientation that appear to be proactive in nature to the Education Reform

Keywords: Geography teaching, geography learning, conceptions

Mapping the World: Freehand Mapping and Children's Understanding of Geography Concepts
Susan Lowes Volume 10 (2008), Number 2, Pages 66-100

This exploratory research on freehand maps drawn by elementary school children argues that such "conjured" maps not only provide insights into how students acquire geography place knowledge, but also reveals the development of a series of cognitive understandings that are necessary components of geography literacy. We focus on three key concepts that students need in order to draw what we consider to be traditional maps: the shape of the objects in the maps, the orientation of these shapes in relation to each other, and the nesting of objects within objects. After describing these concepts in detail, we analyze maps drawn by 3rd and 4th grade students in six New York City classrooms in order to show that these concepts develop over time, although not at the same pace, but that they are influenced by the academic levels of the students and by the extent of geography teaching in their classrooms.

Keywords: Freehand mapping, geography concepts, geography learning, geography teaching