Within this post we will investigate two questions regarding misconceptions in the humanities of education.For these questions we will be investigating the value of geography specifically.
Firstly, what do we regard as a misconception?
To begin with, misconception is defined as
‘A view or opinion that is incorrect because based on faulty thinking or understanding’
(Definition of misconception in English from the Oxford dictionary, n.d.)
In terms of an individual understanding, misconception implies that a person does not comprehend or is able to articulate something. Understanding what is incorporated into a subject and what outcomes are aimed to be achieved allows an individual to gain a more detailed picture and therefore opinion on how they perceive the subject matter.
Our first question that will be discussed is ‘What is the value of the humanities? ‘
Students are benefited greatly through the study of Geography. Student learning is not limited to landscapes but also broadens their knowledge on processes of the environment, ecosystems, sustainability, social constructions and urban subjects. Through learning about geographical processes students can make informed decisions regarding issues that affect their local areas or national matters concerning climate change, environmental issues and social matters. Within these studies, students gain the knowledge of where Australia sits in the world and the value of their country within various markets and relationships with different countries. (“Australians need Geography”, 2007) (“Geography it’s essential”, 2008).
What are the issues surrounding Geography? Students are not seeing the advantages or are interested in the Geography subject and that, in the lower grades of high school, the subject has been merged with Studies of Society and Environment. The Australian Geography Teachers Association has complied some strategies to counter this decline. Through developing a standalone subject accompanied by educated Geography teachers students are able to follow the subject through their education, maintaining an interest in the subject. Embedding the subject into the later primary grades may also spark interest when transitioning into high school (“Australians need Geography”, 2007).
Assessment in the humanities, their value and appropriateness.
For this aspect of the post we will be exploring the year 10 Geography portion of the Australian Curriculum. Discussing what students are assessed on and the relevance of these assessment tools.
The three main tools used to assess student knowledge and understanding are that of; evaluating, identifying and explaining/ justifying.
However, are these assessment tools beneficial for student learning? In terms of evaluating, Macquaire University of Sydney defines evaluation as:
‘The making of judgments about the value of a grade and/or the nature and extent of learning outcomes. Answers the question, how well?’
(“Evaluation: assessing student achievement of learning outcomes – Macquarie University”, 2015)
Through this definition we are able to assess students on their overall knowledge in a way that allows them to express their learning in their own words. This allows for a clear assessment of what the student has retained through the unit of learning.
Identifying is the second area of criteria. Through the use of identifying information relevant to the assessment piece presented, students are able to clearly describe topics and sequence information into a complete assessment. This may be through essay style exams, research assignments or short response questions.
Finally, explanation and justifying sees students elaborating on their chosen answers or propositions for change. The Australian curriculum depicts this as;
‘Provide additional information that demonstrates understanding of reasoning and/or application’.
(“7–10 Geography Foundation to Year 10 Curriculum – The Australian Curriculum v8.2”, 2015)
Through these criterions of assessment Teachers are able to accurately judge how well their students understand the content and how well they are able to articulate back this learnt knowledge. However, assessing does not stop there, knowing information is part of the learning, justifying answers truly shows that the student has learnt a range of knowledge through their explanations.
7–10 Geography Foundation to Year 10 Curriculum – The Australian Curriculum v8.2. (2015).Australiancurriculum.edu.au. Retrieved 23 August 2016, fromhttp://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/humanities-and-social-sciences/geography/curriculum/f-10?layout=1#level10
Australians need Geography. (2007). http://www.agta.asn.au/. Retrieved 22 August 2016, fromhttp://www.agta.asn.au/files/Resources/2007/AustNeedGeog.pdf
Definition of misconception in English from the Oxford dictionary. Oxforddictionaries.com. Retrieved 22 August 2016, from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/misconception
Evaluation: assessing student achievement of learning outcomes – Macquarie University. (2015).Staff.mq.edu.au. Retrieved 23 August 2016, fromhttp://staff.mq.edu.au/teaching/evaluation/resources_evaluation/developing_unit/assess_achievement/#aligning
Geography it’s essential. (2008). http://www.agta.asn.au/. Retrieved 22 August 2016, fromhttp://www.agta.asn.au/files/Resources/2007/Geog_Essential.pdf