Exploring the pedagogical content knowledge of experienced geography teachers

Rod Lane

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution


    This paper reports an analysis of the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) of ten experienced Geography teachers; it examines how this knowledge is used to inform classroom practice and how it might assist in the process of the development of the ‘accomplished’ standard for Geography teaching. The study consisted of three phases: collection of baseline data about student preconceptions (n=380); semi-structured interviews with ten teachers to assess their existing knowledge, beliefs and practices; and a lesson observation and video stimulated recall interview with the teachers after they had received feedback regarding the students’ preconceptions. Data were analysed to produce prototypical descriptions of the teachers’ knowledge, beliefs and use of PCK to inform instruction. The results indicated that the teachers differed in their knowledge of common student preconceptions and in their ability to use such information to inform classroom practice. When mapped by substantive content knowledge and PCK of students’ ideas, two clusters of teachers could be identified. The accomplished teachers in the sample had a well-developed knowledge of the subject content; constructivist epistemologies; a range of evidence-based strategies designed to diagnose and address alternative conceptions; and assessment practices for supporting student learning. They also exhibited the qualities of reflective practitioners and the ability to think flexibly about students, content and pedagogy. The second cluster of teachers demonstrated little understanding of the constructed and robust nature of alternative conceptions and did not use either their own PCK or the feedback provided by the researcher to inform their teaching practice. These case studies suggest that a willingness to allow students’ expression of naïve theories in class, and a teacher’s confidence and awareness to use common preconceptions to shape teaching and learning may assist students’ educational development and their deep understanding of key geographical concepts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationExperience-based geography learning
    Subtitle of host publicationIGU-CGE 2012 symposium proceedings
    EditorsGregor C. Herausgegeben von Falk, Hartwig Haubrich, Michael Müller, Yvonne Schleicher, Sibylle Reinfried
    Place of PublicationBerlin
    PublisherMensch & Buch
    Number of pages1
    ISBN (Print)9783863872021
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    EventIGU-CGE Experience-based Geography Learning Symposium - Freiburg, Germany
    Duration: 22 Aug 201225 Aug 2012


    ConferenceIGU-CGE Experience-based Geography Learning Symposium
    CityFreiburg, Germany


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