Exploring the pedagogical content knowledge of experienced geography teachers
thesisposted 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.