Indications of the Influence of Teacher Training on Standards-Based Middle School Geography
Cooper, Catherine W.
The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education
Since the 1994 publication of Geography for Life: National Geography Standards, which specifies what students in American schools should learn and be able to do with regard to geography, educators have questioned the extent to which the national standards' framework or grades K-12 has been incorporated into state standards documents, and then subsequently, adopted by teachers and included in their classroom instruction. Using a survey design of a sample of middle school teachers throughout the State of Maryland, this research examined the degree to which a significant difference exists between the intended geography curriculum developed at the state level and informed by the national standards, and the geography curriculum actually taught in classrooms. In addition, this research tested the degree of association between teaching specific standards and teachers' formal and informal training, as well as, between teaching specific standards and other explanatory variables related to their classroom preparations. Findings suggest the need for additional preparatory training of teachers in geography standards as well as opportunities for targeted professional development in applying standards in the classroom. This research further suggests that, creation of a "geography study community" might be useful for teachers who might need assistance for understanding geography content within the broad context of the discipline's overarching themes.
geography, K-12, national geography standards, state geography standards, geography study community
Cooper, C.W. (2011). Indications of the influence of teacher training on standards-based middle school geography. Research in Geographic Education, 13(2), pp. 102-120.