Effects of Near-to-Far Principle and Other Factors on Learning and Teaching Some Geography Subjects in the Social Studies Course

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of near-to-far principle and other factors effective on students' achievement on learning and teaching the subjects of Marmara and Aegean Regions in the 7th Grade Social Studies course at the primary education schools. For this purpose, total of 208 (92 female and 116 male) 7th grade students, who studied at total of six primary education schools in Kutahya and Istanbul provinces and were selected using the survey method, were given a questionnaire and an achievement test, and their teachers were given a questionnaire. At the end of the study, it was determined that students learn better the region they live in, and that students' studying methods, their attitude toward the course, as well as the methods and techniques and tools and materials teachers use while teaching regions were effective on students' achievement.

Key words: primary education students, geography subjects, regions, teaching geography subjects.

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Social Studies course is one of the fundamental courses in the primary education. Social Studies is a field of study that provides basic knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to students based on the knowledge selected from social sciences disciplines for the purpose of bringing up good and responsible citizens at the primary education schools (Erden, non-dated: 8).

The subject of Geographical Regions of Turkey is given to students at the 7th grade within the scope of the Social Studies course, generally starting from the region where the students live in line with the near-to-far principle. Learning the region they live in should be easier for students through their own observations, as well as through the excursions organized and relevant information provided by their social studies teachers.

No studies have been conducted to date to investigate whether students learn the region they live in better than the other regions. The subjects of Marmara and Aegean Regions, and Istanbul province within the Marmara Region, and Kutahya province in the Aegean Region were selected to reveal whether there are any differences between learning the region where students live in and, in line with the near-to-far principle, learning a neighboring region, and to determine the factors that are effective on students' achievement, and on learning and teaching the geographical regions. Because no such studies have been conducted before, it is believed that this study will fill this gap.

Answers to the following questions were sought with respect to teaching the Marmara and Aegean Regions subject in the 7th Grade Primary Education Social Studies course:

1--Do students learn the region they live in better and easier than the other regions as per the near-to-far principle?

2--What are the difficulties encountered in teaching such subjects, and are there any relations between students' attitude toward geography subjects and their achievement?

3--Are there any relations between studying methods of students and their achievement in Marmara and Aegean Regions subject?

4--Are there any relations between the socio-economic status of students' parents and students' achievement in these subjects?

5--Are there any relations between the methods and techniques, as well as tools and materials, used in teaching these subjects and the achievement of students in them?

Method

The survey method was used, because the factors affecting the achievement of students in the geography subjects of the Social Studies course would be determined.

Research Population and Sample

The research population consisted of teachers teaching at the primary education schools in the towns of the Istanbul province, as well as in the Central town of the Kutahya province, and the students studying at these schools.

The research sample is composed of total of 208 students (92 female and 116 male) studying at the 7th grades of the three primary education schools located in Kadikoy and Maltepe towns of Istanbul province and the Central Town of the Kutahya province, and selected with the random method, as well as total of 8 teachers (3 female and 5 male) teaching these students. …