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To what extent can children's geography books help a primary school teacher explain cause and purpose ?

Newton, L. D. and Newton, D. P. (2006) 'To what extent can children's geography books help a primary school teacher explain cause and purpose ?', International research in geographical and environmental education., 15 (1). pp. 29-40.


New teachers and those without a strong background in geography tend to neglect ‘higher level’ thinking, including causal explanations and thinking about reasons in primary school geography. This is a problem that training has yet to address effectively, at least in the UK. It could be that children’s textbooks may help such teachers address these deficiencies. To assess the potential of such books, 29 were analysed to gauge their concern for causal understanding (cause and purpose). Some showed no such concern. Others showed a selective concern that could, on occasions, be useful to a teacher. There was, however, little evidence of an attempt to foster children’s grasp of the reasons underpinning their geographical enquiry. The conclusion was that these books had the potential to support teachers, up to a point. One problem anticipated is that some teachers may not be able to recognise a ‘good’ book. In that event, these teachers benefit from training (either initially or in-service) in textbook evaluation, selection and use.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Textbooks, Causal explanation, Teacher knowledge.
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:30 June 2008
Date of first online publication:January 2006
Date first made open access:No date available

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