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Towards understanding the influence of subject knowledge in the practice of 'expert' geography teachers

Brooks, Clare (2007) Towards understanding the influence of subject knowledge in the practice of 'expert' geography teachers. PhD thesis, Institute of Education, University of London.

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Teachers' subject knowledge is a significant aspect of teachers' practice and worthy of further research. This research focuses on how 'expert' geography teachers use their subject knowledge and its relationship to their practice. The research consists of three over-arching themes: geography teachers' subject knowledge; other influences on teachers' practice and teacher 'expertise'. The research is based upon data collected on six examples of 'expert' geography teachers. Data were collected in two cohorts and focused on illuminating teachers' practice, personal motivations and relationships with academic and school geography. These data were coded, described and analysed using a framework, described as the 'cultures of influence' map. The research highlights new understandings about how these teachers used their subject knowledge. The six teachers were encouraged, at interview, to articulate individual philosophies and theories about geography and teaching geography. The research shows that the case teachers ascribed qualities to geography that they valued and wanted to emphasise in their teaching. It also shows that whilst a central influence on their practice, the case teachers' subject knowledge was not always the most significant influence. In examining their practice, analysis revealed three strategies used by these teachers to help students bridge the lesson content with their prior knowledge. The term 'synoptic capacity' is used to describe how teachers can link their lesson content with the subject as a whole. The research calls for policy to refocus on the subject and on teachers' professional practice, to enable teachers to develop and use their synoptic capacity. It also calls for a reemphasis on geography as a resource for teaching in ITE and CPO and for further research into how the subject can affect geography teachers' expertise.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Departments
Departments > Geography, Enterprise, Mathematics and Science
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (10)
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2013 11:00
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2015 11:39
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