Primary school teachers speak about geography and how they teach it
Which topics are currently taught in geography, and how do teachers proceed in teaching them? One would expect a large variety of teaching practices and methods. 6 primary school teachers, teaching geography for students in 5th and 6th grade in schools located in the French part of the Kanton of Wallis, Switzerland, were interviewed about this question. The analyses of these semi-standardized interviews revealed that the most frequently pursued method is some kind of optimized direct teaching, and is a quite stable teaching habit. Teachers believe to transfer their knowledge to the students and seem to promote descriptive content knowledge rather than practical skills and the development of general intellectual activities. The mentioned teaching habits correspond with the preference of a certain type of evaluation. «Mondes d’éducation», a theoretical frame of analyses by Chatel, is applied in order to investigate the tradition of educational cultures within the discipline. Educational cultures, on their part, are created in an interplay between teachers, students, and knowledge.
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