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Volume 18, Number 1

Article 1:

Development of Geography Teachers' Capacity to Evaluate: Analysis on Coping with Complexity and Controversiality

Stefan Applis and Janis Fögele

Volume 18 (2016), Number 1, pp. 10-24

The educational standards in geography in the German-speaking world separately refer to the areas of competence of judgment and evaluation and thus attach outstanding importance to reflective value-orientation in geography classes. Therefore, coping with complexity and controversiality has become a core challenge for geography teachers, particularly in the subject areas of Global Development and Global Learning, which are analyzed in a qualitative-reconstructive research project of responsive evaluation, and on which this article is based. The study has shown that the treatment which the teachers underwent during the training could cause their deeply inscribed subjective theories on geography instruction to become explicit in joint discussions and thus became accessible to dealing with them and reflecting on them.

Keywords: competence research, teacher competences, controversiality & complexity, qualitative-reconstructive social research, documentary method


Article 2:

Research on the Challenges of Introducing the Dilemma Discussion for the Support of Judgment Competence in the Geography Classroom

Stefan Applis

Volume 18 (2016), Number 1, pp. 25-40

As a consequence of the Introduction of the Educational Standards in Geography in the German-speaking world separately referring to the areas of competence of judgment evaluation coping with factual and moral complexity and controversiality has become a core challenge for the collaboration of students and teachers. These challenges are analyzed in a qualitative-reconstructive research project, on which this article is based. The studies show that the use of teaching methods such as the dilemma discussion can achieve strong effects for the students. Geography teachers, however, were often over-challenged with the use of this open discursive teaching method. Study results make clear, that acquiring effective teaching strategies alone cannot be expected to suffice, especially not for goals inside the support field of social, moral, and democratic competences. An intensive readjustment of subjective profession-specific theories is necessary for geography teachers to develop professional competences in these areas also including the involvement with theories and empirical research of psychology and studies of education.

Keywords: teacher competences, value-oriented geography classes, global learning, qualitative-reconstructive social research, documentary method


Article 3:

Studying Teacher Confidence in Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the Classroom based on the Professional Development Experience

Lisa Tabor Millsaps

Volume 18 (2016), Number 1, pp. 41-56

GIS has a growing place in the K-12 classroom but it is not used nearly as often as it could be.  Pre-service and in-service teacher education can be augmented by the inclusion of hands-on experience in how to use GIS in teaching.  This research analyzes teacher confidence and perceptions before and after an applied GIS education workshop series.  The findings also explore benefits and enhancements from GIS education teacher trainings that meet multiple times. 

Keywords: geography education, GIS education, professional development, teacher confidence, teacher education


Article 4:

Children’s Atlases and Geopolitics

Deborah G. Hann

Volume 18 (2016), Number 1, pp. 57-73

This research investigates the geopolitical messages carried within a collection of children’s atlases and explores the implications these messages have for influencing their young readers’ mental maps and perceptions of the world. A qualitative and quantitative content analysis of text and images in these atlases illuminates how different countries and regions are portrayed. The perpetuation of an “us” versus “them” narrative in many of the atlases, which problematizes some regions or countries more than others, underlines the need for further analysis of geographic information sources intended for children. This kind of analysis is particularly important because atlases and other sources of geographic information aimed at children often receive little scrutiny, despite being intended for an audience who is at a developmental stage when their mental maps are still forming and evolving.

Keywords: atlases, children’s atlases, geopolitics, geographic education


Article 5:

Flexibility, Communication, and Transparency: Lessons for a Successful Geography Lab Manual Implementation from First Semester Experiences

Forrest J. Bowlick, Shelby L. Young, Trey D. A. Murphy, Brianna M. J. Williams, & Oliver W. Frauenfeld

Volume 18 (2016), Number 1, pp. 74-85

This paper describes an experience implementing a new lab manual for 25 sections of an introductory physical geography laboratory course at Texas A&M University, for the purpose of providing recommendations for educators looking to develop and incorporate new course materials. Transparency, communication, and feedback were key components in the successful introduction and implementation of the lab manual and ancillary resources. These components allowed for efficient delivery of the new materials while building a reliable feedback and revision structure. While the experience is based on a physical geography course, these suggestions are appropriate for diverse course topics, especially within geography and the physical sciences.

Keywords: geography education, physical geography, laboratory design, instructional materials