Some perceptions of English geography textbook authors on writing textbooks

Jongwon Lee, Simon Catling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


There has been much research into the nature and uses of school geography textbooks as teaching resources, yet the perceptions of their authors have been neglected. This study investigated the perspectives of a sample of authors of English primary and secondary school geography textbooks on their experiences as textbook authors. It enquired into their motivations and valuing of geographical learning, expertise in textbook writing, influences on and challenges they faced in textbook development, and their sense of the future for geography textbooks. Findings indicate that these authors valued geography for intrinsic and extrinsic reasons, including its curricular strengths. Textbook writing in England today is influenced and constrained by geography national curricula and publishers' requirements, which can enhance or inhibit the nature and quality of the sources, visual and other materials, and the learning activities authors include. Important for textbook writing are authors' up-to-date subject, curriculum and pedagogical knowledge, alongside their skills in textbook structure and design, and their capability in developing geographical understanding progressively through a single textbook and/or a series. These facets of textbook writing indicate the importance of pedagogical content knowledge for textbook authors as much as for classroom teachers. Authors are wary about the future for textbooks, given the increasing use of digital and virtual resources alongside print materials, though they see a continuing future for textbooks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-67
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.


  • geographical and pedagogical knowledge
  • geography textbooks
  • textbook authors
  • writing and design capability


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