Developing a Writing Framework to Guide Students’ Writing in Geography

Abstract

This paper examines the effectiveness of using a Writing Framework to guide students to write geographically for a level descriptor question. The Writing Framework combines aspects of Paul’s EOT (Wheel of Reasoning) with Neighbour’s Core Questions to guide students’ writing.  The Writing Framework provides structure in extended writing, but more importantly encourages students to consider the importance of two geographical concepts, ‘Place’ and ‘Space’, in their essay writing.

The study involved 18 Secondary 5 Normal (Academic) students.  The majority of the students found the Writing Framework useful and showed an improvement in test scores. The results and student feedback highlighted the potential of the Writing Framework to help students in writing geographically.

Introduction

The concepts of ‘space’ and ‘place’ are key to understanding geographical thinking. Lambert (Lambert, 2012, 3) defined ‘Place’ as a specific part of the Earth's surface that has been named and given meaning by people, although its meanings may differ. Places range in size from the home and locality to a major world region. They can be natural (shaped by the environment) or built (constructed by human beings). On the other hand, ‘Space’ has its own purpose or use and is characterised by location (where something is located on the Earth’s surface), spatial distribution (pattern resulting from the arrangement of phenomena on the Earth’s surface) and spatial organisation (how phenomena are arranged on the Earth’s surface, and why). These key concepts provide valuable insights into the nature of Geography because of their breadth of application to the content studied and the extent to which they are linked to other significant ideas within the subject (Bennett, 2010, p. 38). They help to anchor the subject by giving it a greater coherence, and the students’ reference to these concepts in their answers would enhance the quality of geographical thinking in their essay. 

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An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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