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Volume 13, Number 1

Dedicated to Dr. David Lambert, Professor of Geography Education, University of London, and to the Geographical Association of the United Kingdom. 

Using a Classroom Observation System to Analyze Content and Inquiry in Physical Geography
Robert J. Ruhf & Lisa M. DeChano-Cook 
Volume 13 (2011), Number 1, Pages 5-19

This study examined the extent to which two undergraduate physical geography teaching modules are aligned with national science teaching and learning standards and inquiry-based approaches to learning.  These modules, which were implemented at a mid-sized university, were designed for both general education and pre-service elementary education students. The modules addressed the topics of differential heating and the Beaufort wind scale.  Observations of teaching methodology were recorded in the physical geography classroom lecture and inquiry sessions as they were taught.  These recorded observations were then analyzed and coded using a Lesson Observation System that is based on teaching and learning standards and inquiry based approaches to learning.  Ratings data obtained from the System provide evidence that the two modules were taught with a high degree of consistency following the recommendations of the standards.  The modules provided authentic examples to elementary and secondary education students of physical geography topics taught using an inquiry-based and standards-based approach.  Pre-service teachers should benefit from models of inquiry presented in a similar manner.

Keywords:  science standards and inquiry, physical geography, classroom observations, pre-service teachers

Using Geography to Help Teach History: Dual-Encoding History Lesson Plans
Lisa K. Tabor & John A. Harrington, Jr.
Volume 13 (2011), Number 1, Pages 20-34

How can we teach more and better geography within the school system?  Given the dominant role of history in the K-12 social studies curriculum, use of the psychological theory of dual-encoding to integrate geography and history lesson planning is one approach to bring more geography into the classroom.  As part of the Kansas Geographic Alliance’s programmatic activities, Kansas’ geography and history standards were examined for development of dual-encoded educational units.  Five units, each containing four lesson plans, were developed.  Three workshops were delivered to share the newly developed materials.  Attendees at the workshops provided assessment and feedback on the unit plans.  Participant feedback indicates that dual-encoding is helpful, and, thus, the integration of history and geography using this method is likely to result in considerable progress for increased geography in students’ education.  Not only will the knowledge provided demonstrate the impact and significance of geography to history teachers and their students, but dual-encoded lessons might also advance teacher content and pedagogical knowledge. Most importantly, however, a dual-encoded approach to classroom teaching of geography and history will improve the learning of both subjects

Keywords: geography, history, education, dual-encoding, lesson planning, K-12 social studies curriculum

Geographic Education for Preschoolers: The Dora the Explorer Contribution
James R. Carter & Mariana Diaz-Wionczek
Volume 13 (2011), Number 1, Pages 35-49

We propose that the preschool show Dora the Explorer contributes to geography education by introducing the use of a map on every episode, demonstrating a significant step in teaching preschoolers about maps and map use. Furthermore, we suggest that the format in which the map is presented supports learning, allowing it to serve as a cognitive organizer. This program is an important component in the development of geographic concepts and skills of children aged two to five. Because the show is seen by millions of preschool children around the world every day, it seems apparent that Dora provides geographical experience and background for these young viewers and will enhance the start of their formal education. Therefore, to assess the contribution of Dora the Explorer, we propose some research questions that might be addressed to assess the contribution of this show to the geographic education of preschoolers.

Keywords: Dora the Explorer, preschool geography education, map use, cognitive organizer, TV format, spatial intelligence

Book Reviews

Solem, M., Foote, K., & Monk, J. (Eds.). (2009). Aspiring academics: A resource guide for graduate students and early career faculty. Upper Saddle River, NJL Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-604891-6. 240 Pages. 

  • Sigismond A. Wilson
  • Volume 13 (2011), Number 1, Pages 50-52

Butt, G. (Ed.). (2011). Geography, education and the future. United Kingdom: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84-706498-1. 272 Pages.

  • Kenneth H. Keller
  • Volume 13 (2011), Number 1, Pages 53-55