Macquarie University
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Exploring the pedagogical content knowledge of experienced geography teachers

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posted on 2022-03-28, 22:01 authored by Rod Lane
This study examines the nature of experienced Geography teachers' Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) of students' ideas and the role of two key factors, teachers' content knowledge and teachers' epistemological beliefs, in shaping the development and enactment of this knowledge base. Whereas earlier studies in Mathematics and Science education have highlighted the need for teachers to consider students' common alternative conceptions when designing instruction, relatively little is known about this area of Geography teachers' knowledge. The study employs a mixed method design, including the use of structured questionnaires, drawing tasks and semi-structured interviews, to determine the alternative conceptions of tropical cyclone causes and processes held by 380 Year 9/10 students studying Geography in Sydney schools. This data is used as a basis for examining the PCK of students' ideas held by 17 experienced secondary Geography teachers. Lesson observations, semi-structured interviews and video-stimulated recall sessions are used to investigate the ways in which Geography teachers use their knowledge of students' common alternative conceptions to inform instruction, and to investigate the importance of the teachers' content knowledge and epistemological beliefs in the development and enactment of this knowledge base. The findings of the study indicate that experienced Geography teachers vary in their depth of knowledge of students' conceptions and that the development and enactment of this knowledge base is influenced by a number of factors or filters (including the teachers' content knowledge and epistemological beliefs). These findings have implications for further research, for curriculum mapping and program development in schools, for teacher professional development and the formulation of policy. A preliminary model of PCK development and enactment is proposed as a framework to guide the future research agenda in this area.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Literature review -- 3. Research design, theoretical rationale and method -- 4. Results/discussion: student data -- 5. Results/discussion: teacher data -- 6. Results/discussion: the teachers' use of PCK to inform instruction -- 7. Conclusion -- 8. Appendices.


Includes bibliographical references A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy" "February 2013

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, School of Education

Department, Centre or School

School of Education

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Pamela Coutts


Copyright Rod Lane 2013. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (xi, 295 pages) illustrations, maps

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