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Journal of Geographical Sciences    2018, Vol. 28 Issue (12) : 2007-2015     DOI: 10.1007/s11442-018-1577-7
Research Articles |
Fresh thing for freshman: Exploring a blended method on teaching the history of geographic thought
YE Chao1,2(),HUANG Xinrong2,PAN Yuxin2,YANG Shan2
1. Faculty of Education & School of Geographic Sciences, Institute of Eco-Chongming, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China;
2. School of Geographic Sciences, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
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It is necessary for undergraduates majoring in geography to learn the history of geographic thought. Although there are different cultural and educational backgrounds between China and the West, teaching methods such as text teaching, students’ presentations and group learning are suitable for most of teachers and students even from different countries and regions. The blended method is helpful to popularize history of geographic thought and improve the level of teaching and learning. Owing to lack of the class on the history of geographic thought in countries like China, the authors try to explore a blended method for the first-year geography undergraduates and to assess the effects of this teaching based on some questionnaires. The students have different benefits and responses to this class. A special group consisting of one teacher and several undergraduates does the research and coauthors the paper through making questionnaire, interviewing and analyzing materials from 67 freshmen majoring in human geography and geography science (teacher-training) in China. For the undergraduates especially from the countries like China, it is well worth making the history of geographic thought become a necessary and interesting class.

Keywords history of geographic thought      teaching methods      text teaching      group learning      China     
Fund:Peak Discipline Construction Project of Education at East China Normal University; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571138, No.41471135, No.41871143
Issue Date: 27 December 2018
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Articles by authors
YE Chao
HUANG Xinrong
PAN Yuxin
Cite this article:   
YE Chao,HUANG Xinrong,PAN Yuxin, et al. Fresh thing for freshman: Exploring a blended method on teaching the history of geographic thought[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018, 28(12): 2007-2015.
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Lecturing Students’ presentation Ask-answer Group learning
Subject Teacher Student Teacher and student Student
Style Teacher show Students show Students to teacher Group collaboration
Atmosphere Regular Vivid and lively Exciting Relaxed and free
Type Traditional New Traditional New
Aim Knowledge Share Induction Collaboration
Means Courseware Multi-media Debate Internet
Advantage Planning Easy communication Divergent thinking Extending class
Disadvantage Interaction Collaboration Participation Multilevel students
Table 1  Comparisons on the different teaching methods
Figure 1  PowerPoint presentations made by students
Note: This PowerPoint was made by a student in class. It shows such meaning: in the beginning of learning geography, the students are usually with curiosity; and then, explore the unknown; and this is a process that meets some difficulties and feels frustrated; however, we can find a new world in the end.
Figure 2  Challenges in English text learning
Figure 3  Attitudes to translating homework
Note: A student was not included.
Figure 4  Benefits from English text teaching
Figure 5  Improvements from teaching methods
Benefits Yes No
Know the development of geography
Broaden horizon and accumulate knowledge
Attain geographical scientific literacy and literature quality
Understand modern geographic thought
Promote the development of geography
Degree Methods Necessary Very important Important Not important Not at all
Teacher’s lecture
Student’s presentation
Group learning
Text teaching
Degree procedures Necessary Very important Important Not important Not at all
Teach in class
Ask teacher after class
Work in the group
Read related books
Finish the assignment
Problems Yes No
Shortage of geographical knowledge
Searching for information
Division and cooperation
Group learning
Benefits Yes No
Understand the history of geographic thought
English knowledge
Promote the level of cooperation
Get accustomed to the learning lifestyle of university
Differences agree disagree
More things related
More difficult
More systematic and refining
More professional
More comprehensive
More chances to practice outside
More time to reflect ourselves
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