Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Geography
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Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Geography

Edited by Helen Walkington, Jennifer Hill and Sarah Dyer

This exemplary Handbook provides readers with a novel synthesis of international research, evidence-based practice and personal reflections to offer an overview of the current state of knowledge in the field of teaching geography in higher education. Chapters cover the three key transitions – into, through, and out of higher education – to present a thorough analysis of the topic.
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Chapter 31: Graduate attributes in geography higher education

Rachel Spronken-Smith


This chapter concerns the what, why and how of graduate attributes in geography higher education. The chapter begins with an introduction that provides definitions of graduate attributes, and considers capabilities, as well as discipline-specific versus generic graduate attributes. The introduction also provides a rationale for why we should consider graduate attributes when designing courses and curricula, moving beyond compliance to sound pedagogical design. The next section discusses graduate attributes for geographers in terms of discipline-specific knowledge and skills, and transferable skills. It also points to the need for consultation with stakeholders (students, staff and employers) to determine contextually-relevant transferable skills (for example in New Zealand the need for strong understanding of bicultural issues). The third section discusses how to design geography curricula to foster graduate attributes, covering aspects such as an outcomes-based approach to curriculum design, and teaching and learning activities and assessment tasks that help foster graduate attributes. The final section covers monitoring of the attainment of graduate attributes so that programme coordinators can be assured their students are indeed attaining the desired set of graduate attributes.

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