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Volume 21 Number 1

Centering Students' Cultural Geographies as Content and Process in an Introductory Course

Erin DeMuynck

Studying Cultural Geography can provide opportunities for students to develop nuanced insight into how places are created, perceived, experienced, resisted, and re-made. It can sensitize students to diverse experiences and perspectives. However, teaching complex concepts that highlight the fluidity and messiness of culture in ways that introductory-level students relate to can be challenging. This article presents an approach that takes students’ perspectives and experiences seriously as course content and evaluates its outcomes. An analysis of students’ reflective writing reveals it can help make Cultural Geography accessible and relevant to introductory-level students and non-majors, while simultaneously offering benefits associated with culturally responsive pedagogy. Exploring students’ own experiences through the lens of Cultural Geography and promoting humanizing and collaborative dialogue on these topics can have multiple benefits. It can help students feel validated, which encourages engagement and a sense of belonging in the classroom. It can also inspire curiosity and a sense of discovery as students learn to use Cultural Geography as an approach to understanding the world around them and the people with whom they share it in new ways.

DeMuynck (PDF, 339KB)

The Geography Fieldwork Imperative: Strategies for Designing K-12 Field Experiences

Jeffrey M. Widener, Douglas A. Hurt, & Gary Gress

The Geographic Alliance Network and the National Geographic Society (NGS) have been instrumental in getting K-12 teachers into the field to experience geography firsthand through sponsored activities, including week-long institutes and shorter, geographer-led field trips. As monies and budgets tighten among these organizations, however, as well as with shoestring state appropriations, opportunities for teachers to learn geography through these activities are fading. The purpose of this article is to address the fieldwork imperative for training and inspiring K-12 geography teachers, to highlight the impact the Geography Alliance Network and NGS has had on geography, and to offer suggestions on how to run field-based institutes.

Widener et al (PDF, 327KB)

Geography for Students with a Social Difference

Donald L.D. MacKeen

This article examines how the GeoCapabilities approach to teaching geography can be applied to Additional Support Needs education in Scotland, in particular for students with Asperger syndrome (AS). GeoCapabilities is outlined and considered in the wider context of current educational curricular reforms. The educational challenges and opportunities of students with Asperger syndrome are briefly described and results from small scale research conducted with a group of students with AS who were taught using GeoCapabilities is presented. Finally, the wider implications of using this approach are discussed.

MacKeen (PDF, 759KB)