A geographically informed vision of skills development

Nick Hutchinson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The forthcoming Australian Curriculum: Geography advocates the use of inquiry and skills. Skills-based learning has long been integral to Geography teaching and learning. There are a great number of considerations to think through with regard to skills-based approaches. There is a need to recognise where the teacher is coming from to inform the skills that they seek to develop with their students. Every working day, Geography teachers are faced with the unrelenting and difficult task of choosing what to teach and how to teach it: curriculum making. Both Geographic and genric skills-based teaching is affected by our geographical knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge and the experience-based geographical imaginations our students bring to our lessons. Undergirding both geographical and pedagogical content knowledge are philosophies, ideologies, and the contributions of learning theorists (which may now also include advances in neuroscience). Geography is a discipline founded on robust concepts therefore skills-based learning should aspire to assimiliate these big ideas in students' existing knowledge structures. Contemporary educational research points to the skills-based strategies that have proved to be most effective in improving student learning. A geographically informed vision of skills development, advocated here, includes not only the techniques and tools that geographers use in a geographical inquiry but also a judicious choice of more generic skills-based practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15-33
    Number of pages19
    JournalGeographical education
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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