English Geography Textbook Authors’ Perspectives on Developing Pupils’ Geographical Knowledge and Thinking

Simon Catling, Jongwon Lee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Key purposes in teaching geography are developing pupils’ geographical knowledge and thinking, informing them about the world and encouraging their understanding of geography’s key concepts. Textbooks are a traditional resource for promoting and developing pupils’ geographical understanding and thinking, widely used around the world. There is much research into the nature and uses of school geography textbooks, though with negligible focus on the perspectives of their authors. Textbook authors are important: they mediate geographical knowledge. They have the power to shape pupils’ geographical thought, though it is unclear how much this has been their intention. This research investigated writers’ purposes, as well as subject and pedagogical expertise. The study examined the perspectives of a sample of English authors of primary and secondary school geography textbooks, inquiring into their aims for and valuing of geographical learning, and their approaches to engaging pupils’ understanding and thinking. Open-ended questions and a rating scale were used in a questionnaire to seek authors’ views, drawing on a convenience sample. Analysis of their responses identified that these authors were interested in developing pupils’ geographical knowledge and thinking, which they saw as the subject’s key curriculum purpose. They felt that their up-to-date subject knowledge was vital for textbook writing, as was their pedagogical skills to develop geographical thinking progressively in individual textbooks and through series. They intended to encourage the role of geographical thought in pupils’ awareness and knowledge of the world, to show the value of the subject and to give pupils greater insight and understanding.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Perspectives on Geographical Education
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameInternational Perspectives on Geographical Education
ISSN (Print)2367-2773
ISSN (Electronic)2367-2781

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer International Publishing AG.


  • Geographical Knowledge
  • Geography Teaching
  • National Curriculum
  • Subject Knowledge
  • Textbook Author


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