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South African Journal of Education

On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
Print version ISSN 0256-0100


NAIDOO, Devika. Deep learning opportunities in the geography classroom. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2021, vol.41, n.2, pp.1-10. ISSN 2076-3433.

From a cognitivist theory stance, domain-specific subject knowledge is necessary for deep learning and cognitive advance. What opportunities for deep learning and cognitive advance are provided in geography classrooms? This analysis of teaching in geography classrooms is framed by the concepts of deep learning, pedagogic discourse, and a curriculum of engagement. This article draws on Grade 10 and 11 lessons observed, recorded, transcribed, analysed and qualitatively interpreted. Analysis of pedagogic discourse shows diminished opportunities for deep learning and cognitive advance. Geography is being taught in less elaborated ways and more for compliance, thereby hindering deep learning of the epistemic structure of geography. Furthermore, surface features of the curriculum including knowledge as "given" have displaced attention to underlying principles and conceptual meanings. These practices deny learners access to deep learning of powerful knowledge. Implications for social equality and teacher education are raised.

Keywords : deep learning; epistemic structure; geography; pedagogic discourse.

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