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Publication Detail
What to Teach? Conceptualising a Geography Curriculum
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Standish A
  • Publisher:
    National Taiwan Normal University
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    73, 88
  • Journal:
    Journal of Geographical Research
  • Volume:
  • Status:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    curriculum, disciplinary knowledge, epistemology, social realism
Starting from the premise that a curriculum must be about knowledge, this article notes the marginalisation of disciplinary knowledge in the Anglo-American school curriculum in recent decades and how contemporary approaches to knowledge (constructivism, instrumentalism and neo-conservatism) are deficient some respect. Instead, the theory of social realism is proposed as a better way to understand the significance of disciplinary knowledge to the education of children and how it can be re-contextualised in the school curriculum. Social realism takes a sociological and epistemological approach to knowledge, moving beyond the positivist/constructivist divide. Geography’s epistemology is examined as comprising systematic geography (propositional knowledge), regional/place-based geography (contextual knowledge) and methods (procedural knowledge), and the relations between each explored. Inducting students into geography depends upon a foundational understanding of all three types of knowledge. Therefore, a robust school curriculum must be constructed with all three knowledge types such that students can enter into its conceptual framework and ways of thinking. Finally, the use of knowledge types in geography curriculum and assessment documents in the UK is discussed.
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