Junior College

Improving Geographical Thinking in the Classroom with the Curriculum Making Model

"Geography teachers often use curriculum artefact(s) in their lessons to aid students’ learning of content knowledge, concepts or skills. How effectively have artefact(s) been used in such lessons to help students think geographically? This paper demonstrates how an artefact chosen as a resource for a lesson could be evaluated vis-à-vis the Curriculum Making model introduced by the Geographical Association in UK to enhance both teachers’ and students’ ability to think geographically in the classroom. To enhance geographical thinking in the classroom the Curriculum Making model requires three essential elements to be in balance: the geographical content, teacher choices and student experiences. Through the analysis of an artefact, this paper also discusses teachers’ important role in making decisions as a curriculum maker in the classroom to allow geographical thinking to happen in the classroom."

Disaster prevention literacies: Assessing the knowledge, skills and attitude of Taiwanese students for an earthquake disaster

"Natural disaster education can play a very important role in mediating the impact of natural disasters. If it is imparted at an early age, it could yield positive results such as reducing the risks and consequences of natural disasters. In Taiwan, disaster prevention literacy begins in elementary schools. A disaster prevention framework requires all schools to impart citizens with knowledge about earthquakes, the skills to act and respond appropriately when disaster strikes, and the attitudes necessary for preparedness. Although the implementation of the framework helps equip citizens with these three integral domains of disaster prevention literacy, it is worth examining if Taiwanese citizens are in possession of the necessary knowledge about earthquakes or have the skills to act and respond appropriately to earthquakes based on their school education. This study is based on questionnaire survey data to evaluate if the implementation of the disaster prevention framework plays a vital role in Taiwan’s disaster education. The results reflect that the framework to nurture disaster prevention literacy is successful and could serve as a model to be followed by earthquake-prone countries where people’s preparedness for earthquakes is problematic."

Designing Classrooms of the Future Now!

"Keywords: classroom design, innovation, learning environments In this article we showcase the work of three teachers in redesigning classroom learning environments to enhance student learning. Through short interview excerpts, a video, and classroom photos we feature ten design ideas they used to redesign their classrooms. In the article we also argue that despite lofty rhetoric espousing pedagogical innovation and 21st century learning, classroom design provides the most visible sign of what schools and educational leaders actually believe and value. We call for greater attention to the ways classroom spaces constrain and enable teaching and learning that can better support important 21st century educational outcomes. "

From Classroom to the Field and Back: Understanding the Ways Fieldwork Empowers Geographic Learning

"Fieldwork is an integral part of learning Geography. Fieldwork has been widely used in both research and as pedagogic approaches as it provides a platform for students to understand their classroom content in a better way and help them to become real geographers. This article begins with understanding fieldwork in geography, touching its importance in contemporary human geography, and then describes the ways a one-day fieldwork was planned, prepared and performed in Singapore to understand human geography concepts. The fieldwork helped students experience concepts through everyday urban practices and apply geographic methods into practice. In the conclusion, students’ perspectives about what they learnt and the ways it complemented their classroom learning is discussed."

Old Ideas Made New Again

"I started teaching long ago. The air was full of new ideas about curriculum and teaching methods. In the United States and the United Kingdom we had the “New Social Studies,” “New Math,” exciting hands-on science projects, and the like. It was all about engaging learners in the “methods of the discipline,” in doing inquiry not just memorizing facts. This was a long time ago. Today we are hearing these old “new” ideas again."

Patriots, Collaborators and the Undecidables in Between: The Contestation between Official and Unofficial History in Malaysia

"In September 2011 the Malaysian press was abuzz with news that a leading member of an opposition party had suggested that the members of the now-extinct Malayan Communist Party (MCP) ought to be recognised as heroes in the anti-colonial struggle against the British. In response to the politician’s comments, a flurry of newspaper reports and editorials emerged, alleging, among other things, that the politician was a closet Communist and that “Communist elements” were still active in the country. Compounding matters was the role played by members of the country’s Majlis Profesor Negara (National Professors Board) who then claimed that British Malaya was never colonised by the British, which then opened the way for what came to be known as the “Colony vs Protectorate” debate. This article looks at how the contestation over meaning, facts and interpretation in Malaysia is particularly heated in the domain of official historiography, and highlights the political dimension of such debates as they occur in Malaysia’s ever-contested public domain."

Squatters into Citizens: The 1961 Bukit Ho Swee Fire and the Making of Modern Singapore. By Loh Kah Seng. Singapore: NUS and NIAS Presses, 2013. 330 pp. $38.00 (paper).

"Loh Kah Seng’s new book, Squatters into Citizens: The 1961 Bukit Ho Swee Fire and the Making of Modern Singapore (NUS & NIAS Presses, 2013) provides a highly interesting social history of urban kampongs in Singapore and the modernist public housing scheme that transformed Singapore. Loh, currently an Assistant Professor at the Institute for East Asian Studies at Sogang University in South Korea, is also the author of Making and Unmaking the Asylum: Leprosy and Modernity in Singapore and Malaysia (2009). "

“No One Icon”: Secondary Students’ Judgments of Significant Representations of Singapore

"This study was designed to explore how students in a secondary school make sense about the significance of different representations of Singapore, and to examine their ideas on what they conceived as icons of Singapore. The research was conducted in a premier all-girls’ school in Singapore. The data used in this study was derived from semi-structured interviews that included both a task requiring students to choose from among a set of thirty captioned images, and a set of questions designed to elicit their understanding of significant representations of Singapore."

Using Film in Historical Inquiry: As Medium, as Evidence, for Empathy

"Though often portrayed as a clichéd example of poor history pedagogy, there is now ample research and numerous models of best practice to support the use of film in an inquiry-based history curriculum. In this article I present best practice models and practical examples of using film as a medium to engage students in inquiry."

Geography Fieldwork is Not Mission Impossible

"Geography teachers face numerous difficulties in conducting fieldwork for their students. While the national curriculum is shifting towards a field inquiry approach, some pre-existing problems remain, such as the issues of large class sizes, the lack of suitable sites due to our highly urbanised landscape, and teachers who do not have an understanding of the role fieldwork plays in constructing meaning in Geography. Having an understanding of how geographical knowledge has evolved will allow teachers to adopt meaningful strategies in the field in order to maximise the construction of geographical concepts and learning of geographical skills. In this paper, I propose a simple matrix that identifies purpose and strategies as two key goals that can help teachers work towards the implementation of a meaningful fieldwork programme for students. "

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An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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