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Students’ views of geography

Promoting Geography from the Geographical Association on Vimeo.

The video was produced to promote geography at Barking Abbey School in Greater London.

As teachers, understanding students’ views of geography can provide insights to support effective curriculum making. Acknowledging where these views originate and both deepening and broadening students’ understanding of the subject is very much part of high-quality geography education in schools.

Students’ views of geography research and evidence

The Geographical Association regularly publishes research and evidence on students’ views and experience of geography in schools. Here is a selection from that body of work:

Kitchen (2013) ‘What is geography? The view from year 7’, Teaching Geography

What year 7 students think geography is about and where they get their ideas from. Kitchen considers how the nature of geography can be clarified and the implications for curriculum design and staffing.

Kitchen (2013) ‘Student perceptions of geographical knowledge and the role of the teacher’, Geography

Small-scale research into how students aged 11-12 perceive geography and the impact that teaching has on these perceptions.

Geographical Association (2013) ‘The Primary Geography Interview’, Primary Geography

This interview asks year 1 and year 6 pupils what they think about geography, what it is and why it matters. Their answers open up many questions for us as adults.

Geographical Association (2009) World issues survey

The GA commissioned Ipsos MORI to investigate which issues key stage 3 students think are important and whether they feel they are learning about them.

Whittle (2008) ‘What is geography anyway?’, Primary Geography

Whittle explains how, as a new geography co-ordinator, she found out what pupils thought the subject of geography was about as the first step to raising achievement.

Cook (2008) ‘Year 9 students’ perceptions of geography fieldwork’, Teaching Geography

Research into perceptions of fieldwork undertaken with three secondary schools in an urban area in northern England.

Ferretti (2007) ‘Education Matters: What Influences Students to Choose Geography at A-level?’, Geography

This article considers previous research into subject choice at 16 but focuses on one case-study school. It looks at the influence of GCSE results, teachers’ advice and of coursework and fieldwork, and suggests factors teachers might consider when discussing subject choice with their own students.

Weeden (2007) ‘Student’s Perception of Geography: Decision making at age 14’, Geography

Literature review on students’ perception of geography and influence of three main factors on subject choice, namely interest, usefulness and success. The developing literature on interest provides a conceptual framework for analysing the findings from different authors.

Hopwood, Courtley-Green & Chambers (2005) ‘Focus on Students’ Perspectives – Year 9 students’ conceptions of geography’, Teaching Geography

Reports on findings from the first stage of research into students’ conceptions of geography with findings from a teacher’s perspective.

Harrison and Norman (2004) ‘Pupils’ perceptions of geography: KS2/3 transfer issues’, Researching Primary Geography

Pupils’ perceptions of geography and their views about the subject from key stage 2 to key stage 3. The paper emphasises the need for good geographical provision within and across key stages.

Further support

GA research library on ‘Young peoples’ geographies

Young peoples’ geographies (YPG) project archive

Become a member

GA membership provides specialist support and expert advice for geography teaching

Geography Quality Marks

Register for the 2025 Quality Mark before 31 July and receive a 20% discount off your fee

National Festival of Fieldwork 2024

The GA encourages everyone to take part in June 2024