Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thinking about thinking geographically

Continuing to think about geographical thinking

During this year during workshops on the Australian Curriculum: Geography I have spent considerable time helping teachers to define geography and the nature of geographical thinking in the classroom. This has involved using the 7 concepts of the curriculum to help articulate ‘what makes geography geography?’ Recently I came across an excellent article from the National Geographic people that cited the following aspects of looking at something which make it a geographical look. The aspects are:

* Interaction: systems interacting
* Connexion : people with place and between each other
* Implication: how we interact with the world and make decisions
The article says that such a look helps develop the geography literacy of students. That is, develop ‘their ability to use geographic understanding and geographic reasoning to make far reaching decisions.’

Although not the Australian Curriculum: Geography key concepts, there is an obvious synergy between these three aspects and what is being promoted as geographical thinking in the Australian Curriculum: Geography. Go to the Australian Curriculum portal for details on the 7 concepts.

Needless to say that the 7 key concepts of the curriculum; Place, Space, Environment, Change, Interconnection, Sustainability and Scale are proving extremely useful in supporting teachers to think geographically.

 Concept Wheel: Copyright Malcolm McInerney 2012

Using the Concept Wheel above, the workshops have been a fun away to work with teachers in deconstructing and distilling what geographical thinking (and geography) is all about. 

What stimulated this posting is that I recently came across the poster shown at the beginning of this post. It was a really interesting take on visually showing what geography involves and certainly provides plenty of ideas and angles to discuss about geographical thinking. I will certainly use it to help teachers to make sense of geographical thinking in the future.

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