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Critical Intersections of Knowledge and Pedagogy: Why the Geographic Literacy of Preservice Elementary Teachers Matter?

Karen Thomas-Brown, Allison Richards
This research examines the geographic literacy of a group of preservice elementary (K-5) teachers in a mid-sized university located in America's Midwest Rust Belt. The research sought to achieve three main aims using a geographic literacy survey. The first aim was to examine the approximate geographic literacy of the participants. The second aim was to determine how comfortable the participants were with teaching geography content in the future, and the third aim was to determine the extent to
more » ... mine the extent to which preservice teachers demonstrated the ability and willingness to adopt a critical stance to spatial thinking in the future. From the geographic literacy survey, we found that many of the preservice teachers demonstrated adequate place-based and geographic knowledge. However, many of the participants also showed some deficits in spatial thinking skills, and in the application and contextualization of geospatial knowledge beyond map-based activities. The research also found that the participants expressed an overall discomfort with teaching geography materials in the future, this indicated their inadequate mastery of key geographic literacy skills. To arrive at these findings, this research used a multi-method approach that was epistemologically framed by Kolb's Experimental Learning Theory (KELT) and Critical Literacy Theory (CL).