Current and Best Practices for Teaching Geography in Elementary School Thesis

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Geography Education in Elementary School: Best Practices

The education which is required to effectively instruct early education in developing children is constituted of equal parts applicable procedure and theoretical underpinning. This is an idea that is expanded upon in this analysis through the lens of a three part framework for understanding a suitable education program. Particularly as such a program will apply to the development of usable learning-strategy resources, the approach is uniquely situated to ensure that all necessary aspects of geography instruction are touched upon and in light of statewide Alabama Course of Study standards and objectives.

By dividing learning strategies into categories of comprehension, an educator will identify the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains as those by which individuals assemble the strategies needed to adopt the skill sets needed to pursue desired educational ends.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Thesis on Current and Best Practices for Teaching Geography in Elementary School Assignment

Essentially, this discussion is concerned with modeling comprehensive training methodologies with a flexibility available to all manner of discipline but with specific aspects channeled toward improving social studies instruction using those objectives defined by the state. The endeavor of social studies instruction in particular can be evaluated as a significant beneficiary of the opportunities revealed by the division of learning strategies, placing such demands of balance upon developing young learners. At the foundation of such a learning structure therefore is the notion that education is to be thought of as a goal-oriented training of a student's learning behaviors. This refers not only to what the student learns but how the student learns as well. Considering this strategy in light of reading education, we will find that the appropriate manner in which instruction must be approached in this challenging educational field has become more lucid. And this is crucial with an ever-diversifying student body and an increasingly universal store of information, perspectives and sources vis a vis the internet demanding that young American-educated students be removed from the patterns of ethnocentrism that have produced far too many Americans with little knowledge of the world and cultures outside of our own.

Not coincidentally, this mode of beginning to teach geographical proximity, regionalism, nationalism and the distribution of world languages, cultures and geological parameters must begin -- as must any disciplinary instruction -- with a recognition of the inherent diversity which denotes any classroom. Particularly, by recognizing that different learning strategies and strengths vary for all learners and consequently focusing on the domains distinguishing these learning strategies, we gain a considerable opportunity to distill learning paths for children of widely arrayed needs and styles. Therefore, a consideration of the three separate domains which we have identified points us to the theoretical impetus of the first domain. It is this cognitive element of education which offers stability, a framework for proper decision-making and guidance on deciphering the strategic needs of a specific reading challenge. Therefore a focus on the development and sharpening of the needed mental tools to take on the challenging logistical and informational aspects of geography is sensible and will demand us to consider the emphasis on theoretical course framework in classroom activities.

This is especially important given the young age of the selected pupils. Elementary school level learners will often be engaged in an array of simultaneous foundational learning processes, with the most important among them being literacy education. As the objectives to be here identified have been selected according to the Grade 1 standards offered by the State of Alabama, it can be deduced that said learners are in the particular position of adding new building blocks to this process of literacy at all times.

With this in mind, we denoted that Moats endorses this idea, contending with specific regard to literacy education that "one of the most fundamental flaws found in almost all phonics programs, including traditional ones, is that they teach the code backwards. That is, they go from letter to sound instead of from sound to letter. Such programs disregard the fact that speech evolved at least 30,000 years before writing. Alphabetic writing was invented to represent speech; speech was not learned from reading." (Moats, 240) Thus, the employment of theoretical training in the context of speech and apart from the processional difficulties of systematic teaching should be considered crucial to inducement of greater cognitive understanding of the reading process. Where this applies to geography, we must approach the matter in a nearly identical framework, incorporating literacy training into verbal training concerning the often challenging names of geographical locations and distributions.

For instance, one activity might use a map of the world without labels identifying proper names of locations. This blank map could be used first to introduce the building blocks of geography. Namely, the map would be employed to induce a recognition of such key terms as continents, oceans and countries. Additionally, this tool would be used to introduce the concept of the map itself, equating the premise of this representation with an actual physical entity.

This approach is consistent with a best practices understanding of the manner in which students come to integrate such scholastically presented information as applicable and real. The symbolic elements of a map help the learner to visualize the scheme by which we collectively comprehend the shape and distribution of the world around us. The induction of the concept of a map in the form denoted here is indicative of a number of the developmental steps which become apparent at this young learning age.

Indeed, Huitt tells that "Behavior (adaptation to the environment) is controlled through mental organizations called schemes that the individual uses to represent the world and designate action. This adaptation is driven by a biological drive to obtain balance between schemes and the environment (equilibration). (Huitt, 1) Our findings illustrate that among these schema, the emergence of an understanding of the categories and divisions which constitute the world can become an immediately relevant factor in social behavior.

According to the research conducted here, there are a number of proven methods for improving or stimulating childhood learning processes as well as created positive learning environments. Government programs and individual teachers alike will stress the importance of involving a child in game-like learning activities at an early age. According to the Department of Education, "even if this involvement is as simple as reading out loud to a child or games which involve spelling and early reading strategies, these lessons are monumental in the long run." (U.S. Department of Educaiton, 1) Most effective early childhood educators will adopt this finding into the creation of fun and engaging classroom activities such as word association and matching games or other competitive actions that stimulate involvement and learning even as the child hones his or her newly developing tools. (Castaldo, 1) the difficult initiation into the performance and evaluation nature of education can be given effective prelude with an elementary geography education that orients a child toward both without the stigmatizing implications of formal grading.

This is why many educational professionals tend to strongly advocate the use of games and classroom wide interactive experiences. It is here within that students are truly given the ability to apply specific and increasingly complex ideas to a geography education. It is here that we consider the conditions promoted by the State of Alabama concerning Social Studies objectives. Though many of such objectives justifiably focus on learning and better understanding the conditions of the local community, there is a great deal of room for expansion of the areas relating to geography as a worldwide concept. The Alabama Learning Exchanges denotes such discussion points in 1st Grade Social Studies as those relating to clothing styles both past and present, identifiable landmarks, holidays and customs and other characteristics by which we can easily identify specific geographical locations. (ALEX, 1) These are features by which we can add further informational complexity to the eventual recognition of maps and their related schema. With the introduction of specific locations, using games to draw characteristic associations centered on style of dress, landmarks, languages and other human related concepts can help to create an understanding in the learner of the real meaning to the symbolic relationship between a name and a place.

This approach points us in the direction of a second domain of learning, which concerns the affective wherewithal of the individual to contend with the real educational challenges of integrating strategy with comprehension.

As Moats explains, again in the context of literacy, there is a crucial importance to following up on instruction by graduating students to relationships between the object and application. Indeed, the author notes that "once an association between sound and letter(s) is taught, children need cumulative practice building words with letters they know. Systematic programs begin with a limited set of sound-symbol correspondences -- a few consonants....and one or two vowels... so that words can be built right away." (Moats, 238) good example of a game and a lesson segment incorporating this concept might begin with a map of the United States, or more likely at the early learning level, a map of a… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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