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The subject conceptions and practice of pre-service geography teachers in Singapore

Seow, Dorothy Tricia Ing Chin (2013) The subject conceptions and practice of pre-service geography teachers in Singapore. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This thesis focuses on understanding the complex relationships between geography teachers’ conceptions and practice. Through the use of a Foucauldian (1971, 1979) perspective on discourse, knowledge and power, it examines the discursive structures that produce knowledge about geography and ‘good’ geography teachers (Moore, 2004) in Singapore. The research explores why pre-service teachers conceive geography in particular ways, and the links between their conceptions and practice. It emphasises the ways in which discursive power affects this relationship. The study focuses on six geography pre-service secondary school teachers over the course of one year of teacher education. Utilising concept maps, elicitation exercises and in-depth interviews, it highlights that the national curriculum was powerful in shaping respondents’ discussions of geography, but its impact was mediated by their own professional identities and past experiences of geography. The data also suggests that these conceptions did not always translate into practice because of discourses operating in the school context, which placed respondents in asymmetrical power relationships with their mentors. The mentors’ conceptions of ‘good’ geography teaching usually influenced respondents’ practice more than their own conceptions of geography. Nevertheless, respondents sometimes resisted their mentors, especially if they experienced conflict between the type of teaching that was demanded of them and their own professional identities. iv The research calls on teacher educators and policy makers to acknowledge that programmes to develop teachers’ knowledge in their academic disciplines can be undermined by powerful competing discourses that stress examinable content in school curricula. It highlights the need for teacher education institutions to examine their partnerships with schools for possible conflicts between discourses about ‘good’ teaching in schools and institutional intended outcomes. It suggests that there is a need to strengthen the professional identities of teachers as ‘geographers’ given that identity forms an important base from which teachers respond to discourse.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Controlled Keywords: Qualitative research, case studies, interviews, geography education, subject conceptions, discourse and power, pre-service teacher education
Subjects: Departments > Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
Depositing User: Mr Graeme Naylor
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2014 10:05
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2015 11:24
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