More on the structure of British education and the role of geography
Ron Johnston, University of Sheffield
Geography in higher education is severely constrained by its bureaucratic organisation. There is a need for new directions in social science at this level, for the current courses do not meet the requirements of a mass education system in which an academic training is not required for the majority of students. Such new directions should involve the integration of the social sciences in a structural framework, so that the subject matter of the disciplinary parts is comprehended within the context of the societal whole.
Teaching geomorphology at university
David Sugden and Patrick Hamilton, University of Aberdeen
A questionnaire survey on the content and structure of geomorphology courses taught in university geography departments in Britain reveals that current practice is for teaching to be structured around courses and subheadings which reflect the main landform/process systems (e.g. fluvial glacial) rather than more abstract concepts. This empirically-based orientation is convenient, but in the long run it could be inefficient and unchallenging. Three alternative ways of structuring teaching on a more theoretical basis would be to focus explicitly on more fundamental geomorphic processes; to structure teaching on the use of a systems approach; or to introduce more specific courses on key methodological problems.
Objectives and methods in our statistical teaching
Stanley Gregory, University of Sheffield
Three questions are asked - why teach statistics? what statistics to teach? how to teach them? The first is considered in terms of the degree itself, general academic training, and future occupational use; the second is viewed in terms of the needs of all geography students, not just specialists or potential researchers; the third arises directly from the previous two discussions. An exchange of views through this journal is invited.
Mathematics in the geography curriculum
Robert Haining, University of Sheffield
The reasons for teaching mathematics to geography students in higher education are outlined and some of the constraints we must work within are discussed. Three issues are then taken in detail: first, the mathematical standards we should set, second, whether there should be streaming of students and finally the type of course structure we should institute. Specific examples of mathematics in geography emphasise the need for students to be shown how to translate geographical problems into a mathematical language.
Teaching mathematics in geography degrees: motivation, necessities and approach
Robert Bennett, University College London and University of Cambridge
Within the constraints of viewing geography as an applied discipline with a large number of arts-based students, the primary problem of teaching mathematics in a geography degree is argued to be one of contending the motivation for a symbolic and analytical approach. This paper explores ways in which motivation for mathematics can be impressed on students and then discusses those areas of mathematics necessary in geography. The final section explores an applied approach to mathematics teaching based on the concept of systems.
Geography and values in higher education: 2
John Huckle, Bedford College of Higher Education
The geography curriculum in higher education is a reflection of values held by the geographical and educational communities, and by society at large. In addition to fostering an awareness of such values, the teacher should seek to transmit an environmental ethic by adopting relevant approaches from moral and political education. These would provide students with the components of an environmental morality, and would develop political literacy in the field of environmental management.
A discipline's experiment in higher education: a report on the TLGG project
L Dee Fink, University of Oklahoma
The project on Teaching and Learning in Graduate Geography (TLGG) has been developed as a consortium of sixteen departments of geography in the United States to improve the preparation of geography graduate students for college teaching. This report describes the project, assesses the evidence available thus far as to its success, and describes completed and continuing research on the context and consequences of the project.
Preparation for teaching in a research degree: a model to prepare geographers for academic careers
Janice Monk, University of Illinois
Doctoral degrees serve as qualifications for careers in higher education, yet they prepare students for only one aspect of those careers - research. Under the auspices of the Association of American Geographers' Project, 'Teaching and Learning in Graduate Geography', the University of Illinois incorporated teaching preparation into doctoral study. The programme provides for gaining knowledge about teaching and learning, for developing an educational philosophy and for practising and evaluating teaching. Experience in conducting such a programme shows that issues of continuing importance include finding a balance between teaching and research demands, between student freedom and staff authority and between attention to philosophical questions and practical needs.
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