Teaching the Tool of the Trade: Understanding Teachers’ Beliefs, Knowledge, and Practices about Map Skills




Acheson, Gillian

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The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education


Map learning is one of the most researched areas of geography education. Despite considerable research in map learning, few studies address instructional practices. The few that do confirm the advantages of even small amounts of instruction on map use, but also correctly imply that it is unknown if instruction in reading and interpreting maps takes place. Additionally, it is unknown whether educators have the requisite knowledge and skills to instruct students effectively about maps. The following questions are addressed in this research: (1a) What are teachers’ beliefs1 about map use and understanding; and, (1b) What knowledge2 about map use and understanding do teachers possess? (2) To what extent do teachers understand the curricular requirements about map skills? (3) What are teachers’ practices3, that is, what, when, and how are map skills currently taught in geography/social studies courses? The goal of this study is to understand teachers’ beliefs, knowledge, and practices regarding map skills.



higher education, teaching, teacher beliefs, map skills, map learning


Acheson, G. (2001). Teaching the tool of the trade: Understanding teachers’ beliefs, knowledge, and practices about map skills. Research in Geographic Education, 3(1), pp. 71-75.


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