The Role of Geographical Investigations In Developing Students’ Cognitive Thinking, pp. 5 of 11

Students’ Cognitive Abilities before GI

Before GI, all students exhibited lower-order thinking skills in terms of understanding geographical data provided (corresponds to cognitive category 2 in Fig. 1). More specifically, students could summarise, interpret and explain key findings from the source (subcategories of cognitive category 2 – ‘Understand’). When summarising key findings from the source, all students managed to infer that residents were agreeable to having the peak hour shuttle bus service and would use it if it were implemented:

Zack: ‘Most of the residents agree and like the idea of having a peak hour shuttle bus service; most of them will use the service.’

Weilin: ‘This tells me that residents travel during peak hours because about 80% of them are agreeable to have a peak hour shuttle bus service. Since [residents] agree/strongly agree, it means that they need this shuttle bus service and that they usually take public transport. The survey results said that 90% of them responded ‘Yes’ to whether they would use the service- not only did the public agree to have a peak hour shuttle bus service, but they are also willing to take the service.’

While Weilin’s response was more descriptive than the rest, she and Molly were better at forming their own interpretations about the source. This was gleaned from their opinions about the cost of the shuttle bus service, with Weilin claiming that the residents were “very picky” and Molly asserting that residents were “only willing to pay a mere sum” for the shuttle bus service. Also, all students instinctively tried to explain the data findings presented in the source despite not being prompted to do so:

Keith: ‘I will fund the service because it benefits more people: From personal experience, during peak hours, there are many vehicles on the road and most of the time, there will be traffic congestion…so this shuttle bus service will probably help to transport people faster from place to place.’

Molly: ‘If the bus comes frequently then it will be able to fetch a higher number of residents in a shorter amount of time. And the location is because normally when you have bus-stops, they are fixed and some of the residents who live far away need to walk quite a distance.’

Keith and Zack tapped on their prior knowledge of traffic during peak hours to rationalise how the shuttle bus service would be beneficial for residents. However, their elaboration on the benefits of the shuttle bus service was not explicitly linked to the source’s findings. Conversely, Molly’s and Weilin’s explanations were more relevant and logically linked to the source. For example, Molly elaborated on how the key concerns stated in the source (location of bus stops and frequency of bus service) were related to the efficiency of the peak hour shuttle bus service and the convenience it affords.

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

Newsletter Subscription

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up-to-date with new journal issues!