Geography

Where Literacy Meets Geography: Using Talk Moves to Engage Students in Geographical Data

"From a perspective of social constructivism, literacy is shaped by social practices (Moje, 1996) and serves the purpose of knowledge construction in a discipline (Moje, 2008). To help students become “geographically literate” (Dolan, 2019) entails equipping them with skills to make sense of and critique geographical data presented in multimodal formats (Roberts, 2014) by creating more space for geographical dialogue in the classroom. This paper first discusses the relationship between talk and students’ ability to analyse and account for geographical data. Using the evidence of a questionnaire survey, it examines the impact of Talk Moves in supporting dialogic teaching in 3 Singapore’s secondary geography classrooms. Statistics show that Talk Moves helped students improve their analytical skills for geographical data and their ability to articulate answers in a geographical manner. However, more support could be provided to enhance students’ classroom participation and their writing based on geographical data."

Environmental Education in Singapore: An Analysis of Environmental Knowledge in the Lower Secondary Geography Curriculum

"Geography is a discipline believed to be a potential platform for the delivery of Environmental Education (EE) in Singapore. Most local research investigating EE in schools reveals a gap between students’ ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ in relation to the environment. This naturally calls for attention towards raising environmental knowledge (EK) among students such that they can be empowered to act for the environment. However, what exactly do we mean by EK in the geography discipline? This paper examines the cognitive aspect of EE by creating a framework to analyse the form of EK present in the Singapore’s Lower Secondary Geography curriculum. The main finding shows that the curriculum reflects positive strides towards the incorporation of EK although the disproportionate emphasis of the EK dimensions might impede the effectiveness of instigating environmental actions among students. It is argued that to achieve the desired outcome of geography education - one that promotes responsible environmental stewards through EE - there needs to be serious considerations of what sorts of EK geography teaching and learning should emphasise."

Guiding Students in Writing Data Response Answers Using Bloom’s Taxonomy for Critical Thinking

"This study focuses on improving students’ ability to respond to data response questions with two or more variables - in particular, students’ ability to describe and compare the data given in data response questions. Based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, a step-by-step guide was crafted on how to approach these type of questions. The methodology used was quantitative data derived from pre- and post-tests, and a qualitative analysis of the post-test scripts. For this research, we picked Secondary 5 Normal (Academic) students who showed difficulty in coping with data response questions that have two or more variables. We found that the guide was useful in scaffolding writing answers for the students. However, while students were able to apply the lower stages of the guide, they were not able to spiral their critical thinking skills to higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy."

Developing a Writing Framework to Guide Students’ Writing in Geography

"This paper examines the effectiveness of using a Writing Framework to guide students to write geographically for a level descriptor question. The Writing Framework combines aspects of Paul’s EOT (Wheel of Reasoning) with Neighbour’s Core Questions to guide students’ writing. The Writing Framework provides structure in extended writing, but more importantly encourages students to consider the importance of two geographical concepts, ‘Place’ and ‘Space’, in their essay writing. The study involved 18 Secondary 5 Normal (Academic) students. The majority of the students found the Writing Framework useful and showed an improvement in test scores. The results and student feedback highlighted the potential of the Writing Framework to help students in writing geographically."

How Does Formative, Written Feedback Help Students Improve Their Geographical Writing

"Written communication is an essential performance of understanding and critical thought for the Geography student, especially given the assessment objectives of the current national curriculum. The literature affirms that iterative pedagogies that involve formative feedback, such as drafting and process writing, can be effective for developing writing competency. This article discusses the findings of an action research project on the effectiveness of formative written feedback to help upper secondary students improve their geographical writing. The article frames formative written feedback as a constructivist pedagogical approach, and highlights that effective formative feedback should help students improve by meeting their needs for scaffolding, modeling and affirmation. More broadly, formative written feedback is a means for teachers to model for their students a reflective attitude towards learning. "

Sampling in Geographical Fieldwork Using GIS Techniques

"Sampling is a fundamental and essential component in geographical fieldwork. Sampling is the process of gathering data from purposefully selected sites, such that the data collected best represents the general phenomenon being studied. In geography education, teachers often have to look for suitable sites for students to conduct fieldwork, for example, which location to conduct interviews. However, many teachers are afraid to venture out into unchartered territories where the potential site for fieldwork is unfamiliar. This paper seeks to illustatre the use of GIS techniques to determine the suitability of an unfamiliar site for sampling in geographical fieldwork through coastal research done on a coastline along Cha-am, Thailand."

Incorporating Mediated Learning Experience in Geography Lessons

"With the recent emphasis on 21st century competencies, inquiry-based learning has been touted as the recommended pedagogy as it attempts to move away from didactic teaching. However, an analysis of the current geography syllabus revealed three possible areas of improvement: (1) lack of intentional mediation of cognitive functions (2) lack of continuous mediation and (3) lack of emphasis on enhancing students’ dispositions in learning. From research, inquiry-based learning could be complemented by MLE, a theory developed by Feuerstein which refers to the quality interaction between the mediator and learner. Therefore, the purpose of this research paper is to explore how principles of MLE may be applied to address the aforementioned areas of improvement to enhance students’ learning in the geography classroom. Subsequently, a broad conceptualization of how MLE may be utilized to underpin the inquiry-based learning approach will be provided. "

The Role of Geographical Investigations In Developing Students’ Cognitive Thinking

"In Singapore, there has been a shift in education towards more inquiry-based learning to equip students with skills for the future. Geographical Investigations (GI) have been introduced as a form of geographical inquiry where students participate actively in knowledge construction through fieldwork. Fieldwork deepens students’ understanding of content and aids in students’ affective, social, and cognitive development. However, there is limited local research on the value of Geography fieldwork in influencing students’ cognitive thinking. This paper, therefore, examines the role of GI in developing Secondary students’ cognitive thinking in Geography. Using a case-study approach, Secondary 2 students in one secondary school were interviewed before and after their GI on the topic of Transport. Data was analysed using an adapted model of Bloom’s Taxonomy. All students showed an improvement in higher-order cognitive skills after GI, specifically in the development of higher-order cognitive thinking skills and deeper thinking at particular cognitive levels."

A Dialogic Teaching Approach: Talk Moves to Deepen Students’ Understanding in the Geography Classroom

"In most Singapore classrooms, lessons are typically characterised by the traditional Initiation-Response-Feedback (IRF) instructional sequence. Such an approach limits students’ ability to engage in meaningful classroom discussions and is contrary to achieving 21st Century skills. This paper analyses the power of dialogic talk in the classroom to engage students in more critical thinking and learning. This paper examines how the quality of dialogue and learning outcomes in the classroom will be influenced when students are conferred more authority in the classroom and positioned as significant figures of knowledge construction. This topic of study is significant as the foundation of Singapore geography is underpinned by an inquiry approach, where knowledge construction is anchored upon asking key and guiding questions."

Teaching Place, “Placing” the Learner: Understanding the Geographies of Place

"In this paper, I underscore the importance of “placing” the learner, or allowing them to engage in place-based learning activities to understand the concept of place. This is in support of arguments that hold place as open and fluid. Such a view of place is particularly relevant in this globalized age where transnationality characterizes many of our social relations. I draw on a place-based class activity that I did with my AAG10D (Singapore in Asia) students at the National Institute of Education (NIE) in Singapore in 2016 to emphasize the importance of place-based activities and their implications for understanding the geography of place. We focused on two translocal places in Singapore - Clarke Quay and Lucky Plaza - which are widely held as places for, respectively, expatriates and low-waged migrant workers. Such an activity allows students to experience the social interactions and processes that make up a place, and to recognize that place is not simply a location of things nor a container of human activities. Finally, I suggest that placing learners equips geography students with basic disciplinary knowledge that challenges them to think about being-in-the-world, which is what (human) geography is about."

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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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