International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education Abstracts

1997

Kaminske, V. (1997) Vol.6, No. 1, pp. 4-26.
Gregg, M., Stainton, C. & Leinhardt, G. (1997) Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 41-59.
Delaney, E. & Hay, I. (1997) Vol.6, No.2, pp. 124-134.
Dove, J. (1997) Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 135-147.
Houtsonen, L. (1997) Vol.6, No. 2, pp. 148-152.


Kaminske, V. (1997), Geographical Concepts: Their Complexity and Their Grading
International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
, Vol.6, No. 1, pp. 4-26

Universitat Dortmund, Institut fur Geographie und ihre Didaktik, Emil-Figge Strasse sa 44227, Dortmund, Germany

ABSTRACT:

The study deals with the complexity of geographical concepts. It is based on questionnaires handed out to German students between 1987 and 1989. Complexity is defined by the number of elements needed for a full understanding and the relations between these elements. The study tries to verify the ability to reproduce complexity in different age groups. One result is that students are able to differentiate concepts with growing age. Another result is that specific media (for example: photographs, graphs, sketches, diagrams etc.) influence students to learn more successfully than others (for example: unstructured texts, tables, charts etc.). The more complex a concept is because of a large number of elements and relations needed to understand it, the less suitable it is for usage in teaching. Authors of geography textbooks should be far more aware of this difficulty and must therefore be asked to leave such concepts out. The same applies to syllabus commissions. A second round of questionnaires was therefore drafted and tested with the students that carefully circumvented all too complex concepts. The result was that indeed students succeeded in a far better way. Though the two rounds of questionnaires were concerned only with some climatological concepts the results can easily be transferred for any geographical subject matter.

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Gregg, M.1, Stainton, C.2 & Leinhardt, G.2 (1997), Strategies for Geographic Memory: Oh, What a State We're In!
International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 41-59

1University of Alabama, College of Education, PO Box 870231, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-023 1, USA
2Learning Research and Development Center, 723 LRDC, 3939 O'Hara Street, Pittsburgh PA 15260. USA

ABSTRACT:

This study used protocol analysis to find differences in strategy use and reasoning among five groups of subjects who were given a blank map of the United States and asked to locate states. The subjects were both children (in 5th and 11th grades) and adults (3 levels of education). For all subjects, boundaries influenced the recall, with land-water boundaries most salient and states located along a national boundary more memorable than states bounded only by other states. Three phases of geographic information use were found. In Phase 1, subjects rapidly accessed directly stored and generally correct information. In Phase 2, subjects reasoned about state names and locations using three categories of information: visual-perceptual, experiential, or content-based. In Phase 3, subjects used processes of elimination to finish the task.

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Delaney, E.1 & Hay, I.2 (1997), Worlds in Our Words: Geography as a Second Language
International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
, Vol.6, No.2, pp. 124-134

1Geography, Earth Science, Conservation and Planning, Northern Michigan University, Marqueffe, Ml 49855, USA
2School of Geography, Population and Environmental Management, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Flinders University of South Australia Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia

ABSTRACT:

Students who have learned college/university level writing in English courses may have difficulty making the transition to writing research papers in Geography. Article and book reviews provide a practical mechanism to help students make the transition from textbook-based learning to research and term paper writing. This paper proposes that ideas based in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), and an organisational structure taking advantage of Bloom's (1956) taxonomy of educational objectives, may help instructors craft writing instruction for Geography as a Second Language (GSL). The paper concludes with a call for research evaluating the effectiveness of such a GSL strategy.

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Dove, J. (1997), Student Preferences in the Depiction of the Water Cycle and Selected Landforms
International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 135-147

School of Education University of Exeter, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK

ABSTRACT:

This paper reports an experiment, conducted with 116 undergraduates at an institute of Higher Education in the United Kingdom, to determine if preferences exist in the way selected landscape features and the water (hydrological) cycle are portrayed. The results show that most students can draw simple diagrams of physical landforms from descriptions, but there is some confusion between bird's eye and side views. A significant number of students draw bird's eye views of drainage basins which flow downwards and coastlines which trend from east to west. In sketches of the side views of cliffs, waterfalls, river profiles and landslips, a significant number of students place the feature on the left, facing towards the right. No significant differences exist in the orientation of side views of the water cycle. It is proposed that the preferred orientations are explained by research findings into stroke patterns, although other factors are also identified to explain the results.

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Houtsonen, L. (1997), Environmental Education and Research in the Nordic and Baltic Countries from a Geography Teaching Perspective
International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, Vol.6, No. 2, pp. 148-152

Department of Geography, PO Box 4, Yliopistonkatu 3, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland

ABSTRACT:

Increasing emphasis has been given to environmental education in recent years in the Nordic and Baltic Countries, and this has led to greater weight being attached to it in terms of research as well as at various levels in the educational system. A particular need has been felt to appreciate and support the interaction relationships of individuals with their environment as a continuous process in which people begin to think about their actions and the consequences of them. Environmental education is also looked on as an instrument for bringing about a change in our concepts of knowledge and learning, in which collaborative and experiential learning are becoming more popular and art and emotional experiences are assuming an important role. The concern for the environment felt by the writers from the Nordic and Baltic Countries participating in this FORUM seems to be deeply rooted in their own cultures. They attach great value to their natural countryside, with its forests, lakes, fells, fjords and coastal dunes, and nature means a great deal to their citizens, whose experiences of closeness to nature create a firm foundation for environmental education, and especially for the promotion of environmental sensitivity. It is also important, however, that environmental education should draw attention to the built environment, for although this accounts for only a small proportion of the total area of the countries concerned, the majority of their inhabitants live in urban areas or built-up rural centre.

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