Poor Mapwork Learner Performance - Essay

1000 words - 4 pages

Poor mapwork learner performance in Namibia's junior and secondary examinations is an ongoing and unresolved issue. The findings of a qualitative case study on geography teachers' perceptions and pedagogical practices of mapwork are presented in this article. The reports of examiners pay little attention to teachers' perceptions and classroom practices of teaching mapwork. Our main point is that teachers play a critical role in facilitating and supporting mapwork learning. It also provides insights into how mapwork is taught through the eyes of three Namibian geography teachers. Teachers must have a map, spatial conceptual understanding, and pedagogical content knowledge to play this role effectively.

Maps are graphic representations that encode spatial information using symbols, numbers, and words. Geographers rely on them to organize and analyse spatial data. Spatial thinking is defined as "the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind used to organize and solve problems using spatial concepts, maps, and graphs." Namibian school geography aims to provide students with knowledge and understanding of people and their surroundings. Overlay, buffer, distortion, scale, distance, symbols, direction, and projection must be explicitly taught. Geographical skills include the ability to observe, collect, classify, present, analyse, and interpret data.
Namibian primary school curriculum does not specify how to teach spatial concepts and spatial thinking using maps. The use of map-related skills to solve problems receives little attention. Teaching with maps allows students to learn and think spatially through maps in a variety of reasoning and problem-solving activities both in the classroom and in the real world. According to Bednarz et al. (2006), teaching with maps entails providing students with the skills necessary to read, interpret, and create maps.
Jo Larangeira and van der Merwe investigate how mapwork is taught in secondary geography in Namibia in this article. It uses Shulman's (1986, 1987) concepts of teacher knowledge to generate insights for understanding mapwork in the Namibian curriculum. The data were interpreted using Content Knowledge and Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK). PCK refers to a teacher's ability to present geographic concepts using various maps to promote spatial thinking skills.

A geography teacher's PCK can include the bigger ideas of maps and their properties such as space, time, overlay, scale, distance, and location into a variety of teaching practices. Another aspect is the ability to recognise and build on learners' experiences and mental constructs and find ways of linking these to new ideas being taught (Lane, 2009).

Learning should include group, pair, individual, and whole-class activities, as well as cooperative and collaborative learning. LCP incorporates a variety of teaching and learning methods, all of which should enable learners to actively participate in knowledge construction. Fieldwork ...

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