Edited by Helen Walkington, Jennifer Hill and Sarah Dyer
Chapter 16: Conveying geographic concepts through issues-based inquiry
Part of becoming a geographer is learning the discipline’s conceptual framework. This chapter illustrates several inquiry-based activities designed to help geography majors develop understanding of essential disciplinary concepts and perspectives. The methods employ varieties of a structured, issues-based inquiry pedagogy, in which short in-class activities present essential concepts through analysis and interpretation of diverse forms of geographic data. As supplements to lectures, such brief inquiry activities can help students make connections among geographic concepts and foster development of a geographical perspective. Examples from a mid-sized, public university in the USA illustrate the diversity of attainable issues-based approaches within introductory and advanced geography courses. Designing effective inquiry activities necessitates situating them within the local geographic context (cultures, politics, environments, and economics) of the university and its students. Informal responses from students indicate consistent approval of these types of activities as memorable and effective parts of the courses. Brief inquiry activities help make geographic conceptual structures relatable for students, connecting them to their own local experiences as well as to their future professional development.
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