Teaching Geography in Secondary Schools: A Reader

By Maggie Smith | Go to book overview

4

The enquiry-based approach to teaching and learning Geography

Michael Naish, Eleanor Rawling and Clive Hart

Teaching Geography in secondary schoolsThe enquiry-based approach to teaching and learning The Geography 16-19 Project proposes that the study of geography at 16-19 level should take place through enquiry-based teaching and learning. The term encompasses a range of teaching methods and approaches by which the teacher encourages students to enquire actively into questions, issues and problems, rather than merely to accept passively the conclusions, research and opinions of others.

It is important that the term 'enquiry-based' is further explained so that it is not misunderstood. One way in which to consider different approaches to teaching and learning is to envisage a continuum such as that shown in Figure 4.1. Exposition, narration and reception learning occupy one extreme of the teaching-learning continuum and are characterised by a relatively low level of pupil autonomy, since the teacher is dominantly in control of the situation. Moving along the continuum, other possible teaching strategies and learning activities are identified. These include close direction of question analysis and problem-solving activities, provision of advice and guidance in open-ended discovery situations, and finally, at the other end of the continuum, encouragement and support given to creative activity. In all these learning situations, an orientation towards enquiry may exist, if enquiry is defined in Dewey's terms as 'active, persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of grounds that support it and the conclusions to which it tends' (Dewey 1933).

Figure 4.1 The teaching-learning continuum

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