Everyday life, a blind spot even on the experienced geography teachers' map

Authors: Patrik Magnusson*, Karlstads Universitet
Topics: Geography Education
Keywords: Subject understanding, everyday life, curriculum space
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 23
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The aim of this study is to analyze how geography teachers perceive their own subject, and how this vary. Seven certified geography junior high school teachers and their five colleagues contribute to this study in order to investigate how the subject is perceived and created, and how the teachers use their autonomy as professionals, in their “curriculum space”. Previous studies show that teachers often comply to selective traditions and that everyday geography rarely gets to be a part of the subject.

The participating teachers are interviewed in three rounds both individually and in groups. With the help of performance maps, simulated recall and reflexive conversations, the teachers' subject background, conceptual understanding and big ideas are linked to their experiences as teachers. The data is reduced through condensation, analyzed using hermeneutical content analysis and discussed in comparison with preexisting categories.

The results shows that subject understanding is important for the teaching and creation of the subject in three ways. Teachers’ understanding of the subject is largely based on early encounters with geography. Personal interest is a key factor in developing the understanding needed to use their autonomy and to access the available “curriculum space”. Furthermore, the teachers find it difficult to convert earlier experiences into teaching. Therefore, the notion of everyday geography as a part of the subject repertoire is absent in teachers understanding of the curriculum space. This enables, perhaps even forces, the subject into said selective traditions and consequently fails to draw on students everyday life and interests.

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