Supporting Geography Education: Effects of a Summer Academy on Secondary Geography Teachers




Foster, Ellen J.

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The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education


As part of a geography-based summer academy program, teachers served as mentors for teams of high school students interested in postsecondary education and geography. One component of the program evaluation includes the analysis of teacher understanding of geography and an investigation of the effects of professional development on the participating teachers. The program evaluation examined the effects of participation on teachers' understanding of geography. In addition to asking teachers to define geography, the pre- and post-program surveys included Likert-based questions aimed at assessing self-efficacy in geography. Changes were analyzed using two-tailed t-tests. In addition, teachers were asked about their involvement in professional development programs. Qualitative data analysis followed a grounded-theory model. The research hypothesis proposed a positive correlation between teacher participation in continuing professional development and understanding of geography. However, correlations were not statistically significant. Instead, the research revealed a reasonable, but not statistically significant, level of professional engagement in teacher participants that appears to support continuing education in geography and geographic education. As a result, State alliances may consider requiring participants to conduct professional development sessions after program participation similar to the reported project, which include presentations that will recruit future teacher participants and students to academic geography.



geography, professional development, secondary education, geographic education


Foster, E.J. (2010). Supporting geography education: Effects of a summer academy on secondary geography teachers. Research in Geographic Education, 12(2), pp. 34-44.


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