This page contans some of the topics (Use of maps as teaching resources in Teaching Geography, Use of Photographs in Teachign Geography and Testing and Evaluation in Teaching Geography) not covered in class at Railways Training Institute. Download them in MS-Word,
print and read them offline (away from the computer).

- This unit equip equips Geography teachers with appropriate techniques of teaching Geography in High School and other institutions.
- It deals with methods and approaches used in teaching Geography.
- Be aware that each area of specialization has its own techniques though some are similar.
- In this course, we will share lot of knowledge and techniques with other areas of specialization such as Psychology, Philosophy among others.
- Classes of Geographers – we have two classes of Geographers
(a) Geographers with content - those who have learned Geography content from lower levels to the highest levels (primary to university). Some of them are reputable Geographers in teaching (How do they teach?).
- Suppose you did not train as a teacher but somehow you landed in a teaching job, how will you teach?
- Some of the Geographers have landed jobs in government (physical planners, settlement officers, urban planners among others).
- Do they require teaching methodology?
(b) Geographers with content and methodology – Those that have learned Geography content right from primary to the University/Diploma level in some cases they have been classmates in group (a). They have an element of teaching methods for Geographers.
In case two, content is integrated with methodology.
NB – A teacher’s teaching methods will motivate or demotivate/discourage students from enrolling in Geography.
In Kenya, enrolments in Geography have been declining. What is the problem?
Nature and Content of Geography
Definition of Geography
· Geo – Greek word meaning the earth
· graphia – meaning to write/describe
· Literally means – descriping of the earth/writing about the earth.
· No total consensus on the definition of Geography.
· Geography has diverse content leading to conflicting definitions, concepts and aims.
· Geography is a science of place/space (spatial characteristics). Geography as a science deals with description and explanation of the spatial distribution of physical and human phenomena and the inter-relationships or interactions among phenomena and human beings.
· This definition leads to the following Geography concepts
(a) Space – mainly concerned with location in terms of location (latitude and longitude. This is absolute location. Direction and distance can be used to describe location. In relative location – in relation to other factors are considered e.g. time.
(b) Phenomena: Features in/on the earth’s surface (natural or human). Landforms, climate, vegetation, soils, settlements, transport networks,

· Looks at the spatial variability of phenomena and how they affect man.
· Looks at interaction among phenomena.
(c) Distribution – main feature of Geographical study. This distinguishes Geography from other disciplines. Examines spatial arrangement of phenomena and reasons for the arrangement.
· Geographer examines patterns with three distinct patterns
· Linear pattern – roads, railways,
· Points/nodes – towns/factories/wells
· Surfaces (areas) – areal features e.g., lakes, forests, among others.
(d) Interaction/Inter-relationship – A Geographer does not study phenomena in isolation but how phenomena interaction with each other and human beings.
· Interdependence of phenomena
· Inter-relations (areal associations).
· A number of elements influence phenomena.
Conclusion – The items distinguish a Geographer from other scientists who may be handling similar phenomena.

Why Teach Geography
- Addresses the aims/goals of teaching Geography.
- Addresses the objectives of teaching Geography
- The long-term objectives for teaching Geography include:
(a) Enables learners to understand themselves and others. E.g. why do people in India prefer to eat rice while Kenyans prefer maize meal?
· Geography highlights a number of problems and possibilities in different environments. A number of elements influence phenomena.
· Potentials and limitations in various environments contributes to international understanding and unity.
· Geography fosters interdependence among people by explaining the spatio-temporal variation of resources.
(b) Teaching Special Skills – Skills gained through Geography teaching include:
· Observation especially during fieldwork. Critically observe phenomena as it occurs.
· Data collection skills during field work.
· Map reading skills
· Aerial photo interpretation
(c) Purposive use of leisure time – Geography students trained to see and read meaning from the landscape
· Observe and interpret landscape intelligently.
(d) Thinking skills – Geography teaching cultivate culture of thinking among students. This takes students beyond the cognitive domain (merely acquiring knowledge). The problem solving approach in Geography is an example. E.g., using the concentric model, recommend appropriate land use in Nairobi.
(e) Geography tackles the big issue of environmental responsibility. This necessary in a world where there is much concern over human threats to the environment.

Summary of objectives for teaching Geography in High School
(a) Inculcate knowledge of geographic factors.
(b) Foster ability for critical thinking
(c) Promote ability to read, interpret and make maps
(d) Develop habits of observation
(e) Promote international understanding
(f) Promote conservation of natural resources
(g) Foster ability to make worthwhile use of leisure time.

Explain how the teaching of Geography contributes to the attainment of the goal for education

(1) Education should promote international consciousness – cultivate positive attitudes to other countries/international community. Through teaching global geography, understanding of other countries is possible.

(2) Education aims to promote and develop cultural heritage. There exist a variety of culture that needs to be understood.

(3) Promote national unity – For Kenya people belong to different ethnic groups, race and religion. Education for mutual respect and living together. Education should enable people live and interact as Kenyans.

(4) Promote national development – Education aims to meet the economic and social needs of National development.

(a) Economic needs – provide citizens with skills, knowledge, expertise (domestic skilled labour) for the growing economy.

(b) Social needs – cultivate positive attitudes and relationships among learners. Necessary for modernization. Assist youth adapt to changing environment.

(5) Individual development – education offers opportunities for the development of individual talents and personality.

· Develop potentials and abilities

· Encourage good moral and religious values

· Help students to be self disciplined, self reliant and integrated citizens.

(6) Social equality – Education promote social equality.

· Provide equal opportunities for both sexes (male and female, men and women, boys and girls).

· Give opportunities for collective service.

Exercise – This is a group discussion –

Q Examine how the teaching of Geography in a country of your choice promotes the goals of education.


(a) Document that define activities which take place in a school environment.

(b) Document that shows types of learning expected to take place in different subjects e.g., Geography, Maths, History among others.

(c) It involves a number of aspects interacting with each other – aims, objectives, content, teaching strategies and evaluation.

(d) Geography curriculum would be a document showing;

· Objectives of teaching Geography

· The content of Geography e.g., units

· Objectives of each Geography unit or topic

· The teaching strategies

· Evaluation of the course(s).


(Explain the items).

Geography syllabus

- This is an outline/brief statement of the main parts of the course as would be taught by a teacher

- A document outlining what is to be taught in a given class in a given time.

- It outlines the content, concepts and principles to be taught in Geography.

- Outlines the content for the different levels of learners as required by the curriculum and examination council.

- Geography syllabus exposes students/learners to systematic study of both physical and human aspects of Geography.

- In Kenya two syllabi exist

(i) Syllabus provided by the Kenya Institute of Education (KIE). This defines what is to be taught in each class.

(ii) The KNEC syllabus classifies the topics to be examined in Papers 1 and 2. As would be examined by the examination council.

Factors to be considered when coming up with a Geography Syllabus

(i) Aims and objectives of teaching Geography must be considered.

(ii) Concepts, principles, facts and skills must be carefully selected. Facts change with time.

(iii) Consider variety of topics from the physical and human environment. Topics should be arranged from the simplest to the most challenging.

(iv) Materials – syllabus should allocate materials for teaching both local and the wider Geography.

(v) Time factor – Each content should be covered within a given period. It should allow for revision.

(vi) Reference books – provide a list of suitable books.

Types of Geography Syllabi

There are four types Geography syllabi

(a) Regional Syllabi – Tends to cover Global Geography using a regional approach. Start with the country/district, country, continent and then world Geography.

· Each region is systematically studied in terms of physical and human aspects.

· Interactions between human and physical aspects in different regions are studied.

(b) Systematic Syllabus – Uses a thematic approach in teaching Geography.

· Themes include; vegetation, soils, agriculture, fishing, industry among others.

· Examples for each theme are drawn from different parts of the world to ensure a global coverage.

(c) Concentric Syllabus – Study topics are covered at different levels.

· Coverage starts with the local level, then national level and finally global level.

· At each level, physical and human aspects of Geography are covered.

(d) Concept/Topic based syllabus – broad category of topics are used.
· It is mainly used when Geography taught integrated among other subjects or areas of specialization.
· One such broad topic is trade with concepts such as containerization, hinterland, development among others.
(Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each syllabus)

Teaching Method – overall approach of organizing, planning and delivering a Geography lesson to achieve stated objectives.
Broadly divided into two:
(i) Teacher centered methods/Expository methods – the teacher is the main source of knowledge 70-80% of the work and students doing less than 25%.
o Students are passive recipients of knowledge.
(ii) Student centered/participatory methods – The student is the master and the teacher is the referee.
o The learner plays a central role
o The teacher is a supervisor
o Students do 60-70% of the work.

Factors to consider when choosing a teaching method
(a) The level of the learner – methods of teaching Form I students may vary from those of teaching Form IV.
§ Respective levels of students have different abilities.
§ Even in the same class, abilities may not be the3 same thus calling for a variety of teaching methods.
(b) Target population – The group of students a teacher is going to teach may influence the choice of a teaching method and examples given. Think of children, youth and adults.
(c) Class Size – Some classes are too large while others are small. Interactive/participatory methods are good for small classes. Lecture method is for instance in teaching large numbers.
(d) Available resources/physical facilities e.g., books, equipment, maps among others. Incase of limited resources, teacher centered methods serve well. With enough resources, use learner centered methods.


Introduction – A map is a representation to scale of all or part of the earth’s surface on a paper or any other drawing media such as a tracing paper, piece of cloth among others.

Communication of Geographical material is incomplete without the use of a single maps or maps.

Spatial information is best communicated through the use of maps.

Why use maps
(a) Maps are used to show distribution of Geographical phenomena.
(b) Maps can be used to show the relationship among Geographical phenomena
(c) Maps can be used to identify Geographical problems for further investigation
(d) They can also be used for descriptive and statistical analyses

(Discuss these points at your own time for details)

Types of maps
(i) Cadastral maps
– These are large scale maps also known as plans.
– They show full details e.g., boundaries of fields and subdivisions.
– Town planning maps are examples.

(ii) Topographical Maps
- Also large scale maps though not as big a cadastral maps
- Depict relief, drainage, vegetation, crops, settlement and transport routes among other physical and human phenomena.
- Some are 1:50000, 1:250000, 1:100000 among other scales
- They are used for map reading, analysis and interpretation

(iii) Atlas Maps
- Small in scale than cadastral and topographical maps
- They show large areas such as country, continents or the whole world on a single page.
- However, they have less details than cadastral and topographical maps
- Show boundaries, roads, railways, towns, natural features, crops, mineral deposits among others

(iv) Geological Maps
- Show different types of rocks and their distribution as well as evolution

(v) Weather and climatic maps
- They deal mainly with temperature, air pressure, winds and rainfall among other climatic elements.

Read and make notes on wall maps and the advantages of each of the types of maps mentioned.

(vi) Wall maps

As a Geography teacher, what are the stages in the study of maps?
- There are three stages in the study of maps
(a) Map reading – This is the most basic level.
- Involves finding out which features are found on maps and which part of the map.
- Make use of grid references, contours, direction and even bearing.

(b) Map Interpretation
- This stage involves making decisions why certain features occur where they are.
- Map reading precede map interpretation

(c) Map Analysis
- This involve evaluation of the interpretations made about the map features
Maps can be used to development a variety of skills in learners. These include but are not limited to:
(a) Skill of calculating distances and areas of different scales
(b) Skill of giving and following direction
(c) Locating places using latitudes and longitudes
(d) Using thematic maps to recognize characteristics of human and natural phenomena.
(e) Skill of using different types of maps e.g., topographical, climatic, geological among other maps.
(f) Searching for relationships among features.

Also read


- Pictures and photographs are indispensable tools for illustrating Geographical facts.

What is a picture? – is a painting, drawing or sketch of something. Many Geographical features can be illustrated in pictures.

What is a photograph? This is a data source obtained using a camera and film.
- It is a type of picture obtained by using a camera and a light sensitive material i.e., the film.

The Significance/Importance of using pictures and photographs in teaching Geography

(i) Pictures and photographs make the study of Geography real. Pictures and photographs bring reality to the learners as they are not in the field.
(ii) Learning of skills of observation and analysis are developed. Interpretation skills are also developed.
(iii) When pictures and photographs are used in variety, they attract and sustain the students’ attention.
(iv) Pictures and photographs illustrate which are unfamiliar to students.

Types of Pictures and Photographs
- For the purpose of teaching Geography, pictures and photographs can be divided into three categories:

(i) Pictures and photographs viewed in groups
- The photographs show the same features for all groups. If the features are different, then the groups can exchange the photographs.
- This done when the pictures/photographs are not adequate foe every member in class.
- Each group has a secretary who records the group’s observations

(ii) Pictures and Photographs viewed by the whole class
- They are large pictures or those projected.
- Questions about the pictures/photographs are centrally set.
- The teacher asks learners questions who provide responses.

(iii) Pictures and Photographs viewed by individuals
- These pictures/photographs may be found in textbooks
- Students view photographs individually
- Viewing may also be done in pairs if the books are few.

Procedure of using photographs and pictures in Teaching Geography
(i) Introduce the picture – e.g., this is a picture/photograph of Mt. Longonot.
(ii) Learners should be directed to the most significant feature in the photograph. The students should make a list of features observed from photographs.
(iii) Students should be asked to describe and explain the features on photographs.
- The pattern and distribution of features on photographs should be observed.
- In talking about maps, terms such as: Background, left background, mid background, right background etc should be used.
(iv) Examine relationships among phenomena. Inferences should be based on observation.

When and where do we use Geographical Pictures
a) Pictures and photographs can be used at the beginning, during and at the end of the lesson.
- Beginning to provide background knowledge for the lesson. Enable learners to visualize the subject of the lesson.
- During the lesson to illustrate lesson content/concepts
- End of the lesson to illustrate what has been taught.

b) Whole Geography Period
- Whole Geography period – This is especially regarding large photographs.
- This can be displayed and used during the whole period e.g., for the case of stereoscopic viewing in the university.

c) During the end term of the term in Geography examinations – after exposing the students to knowledge of pictures and photographs, they can be examined at the end of the term on photographs to test skills such as observation, analysis and interpretation.

Limitations of Using Pictures and Photographs in Teaching Geography
(a) Some sensations may not be shown on photographs e.g., cold, heat and smell unless through the imagination of the teacher and students.
(b) Pictures and photographs present part of the information. Students need field study to some places to see the phenomena on photographs practically.
(c) Pictures and photographs show as they appear at a given time. However, both physical and human phenomena change over time.

- After or during the teaching of Geography, students need to be assessed on the Geography content and concepts.

TEST – A test is a tool containing questions determining whether the learners understood the content and concepts.

EVALUATION – This is the making of a qualitative and quantitative judgement about the learner or the learning process.

Quantitative Qualitative
90-100% Excellent
80-89% V. Good
70-79% Good
60-69% Satisfactory
50-59% Average/Fair
40-49% Pass
0-39% Fail

Reasons for testing and evaluating learners
(a) Self evaluation – enable the learner to know whether he/she has understood facts. This motivates the learners.
(b) Feedback – Teachers, administration, guardians, employers, sponsors among others need to know how learners perform in exam. For others this may influence their aid/support to learners.
(c) Certification – Testing and evaluation is used to give certificates to learners e.g., KCSE, KCPE, Diplomas, Degrees among others.
(d) Review of teaching strategies – Good performance motivates both teachers and learners. Poor performance calls for remedial measures.
(e) Placement – Through testing and evaluation a decision is made as to who goes where – university (public sponsorship), private sponsorship, medical colleges, and polytechnics among others.

Formative and Summative Evaluation
Evaluation can either be formative or summative.

(i) Formative Evaluation
- This is progressive testing
- May be weekly or monthly
- Mid-terms tests
- Judgment is made while the learning process is in progress.
- Assessment during teaching practice is a good example.
- Giving of CATS and assignment before the end of the term or semesterster

(ii) Summative Evaluation
- Testing and evaluating learners at the end of the term/year/course/semester or program of study.
- The national examinations are an example in Kenya and other countries.
- It helps in promotion
- Helps in the selection of learners for a course or program
- Determines the level of attainment

Types of Tests

(i) Essay type of tests
- This is a test that tests whether learners have understood a topic.
- Students write comprehensively about a question.
- It requires a lot of details
- Terms used include: discuss, examine, describe, compare and contrast, give an account of among others.

- Promotes organization of thoughts
- Tests students’ ability to express ideas
- Ease to make/construct
- The learners provides a lot of details
- It is like an open discussion

- Questions are too broad leading to lengthy answers
- Few topics can be tested
- Affected by subjective marking. Student has his/her own view and the teacher may have a different view. Difficult to mark objectively.
- Marking is affected by physical factors e.g., time, number of scripts, fatigue, handwriting etc.
- It is time consuming in answering and marking.
- There is high variation/deviation among markers

(ii) Objective tests
- These are test that require short exact answers. They include;

(a) Filling in blank spaces
(b) Multiple choice questions
(c) True/False questions
(d) Matching

- This eliminates subjectivity on the part of the examiner.

- It encourages wide coverage of content
- Challenges the learners to study all topics/read widely
- Fairness in marking. Removes teachers’ subjectivity
- It is ease to mark. No special skill required/needed.
- The marking is always reliable.

- Learners fail to develop expressive ability
- No critical thinking/creative ability is nurtured.
- They are difficult to construct
- Divergent views not entertained

Academic Integrity in Testing and Evaluation
– The problem of academic dishonesty affects testing and evaluation eroding the integrity of our examinations.
– As a teacher, you should encourage your learners to be honest in examinations.
– The teacher should also be objective in marking
– No favoritism to some candidates while discriminating others.
– Strict supervision should be encouraged
– The syllabus should be completed before testing and evaluating the learners.
Q. Discuss the causes and remedies of academic dishonest in Geography examinations.


Preamble to the e-mode/e-learning/advances in technology/modern technology
I thank all the ECT 212 students for being very patient with me as I use the e-mode in teaching Geography. You must have seen that this mode has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Q – What are advantages of using e-learning/advances in modern technology? From your practical experience during this unit, did you learn anything? Some of the advantages of this advancing technology include but are not limited to:
(a) It eliminates the question of distance (Geographical barriers). I can reach my students from whatever part of the world. The material I gave you can be accessed in any part of the world whether in Oslow, Copehagen, New York, Beijing, Kisumu city, Mombasa, Eldoret or Dar es Salaam among others locally and abroad.
(b) Imagine as I traveled to Railway Training Institute (RTI) to come and teach I was almost crushed by a Matatu at Pangani and my mobile was off. Use of e-mode or e-learning can help reduce risks of traveling from one point to other both by students and lecturers. You can prepare and access the material even from your bedroom as long as you have internet!
(c) Multiple access – the e-material can be accessed by many students/people at the same time as long as the internet and electricity is available and working.
(d) The material on the e-platform can be updated. If you as the teacher come across new material, this can be added to the existing one. The existing document can be edited (changes brought) and updated.
(e) With more training and illustration more people in different areas of the world can contribute to a topic continuously and simultaneously. This is not possible outside e-mode. If done, it is expensive requiring additional facilities. Remember President Mwai Kibaki launched e-mode of learning the other day that included teleconferencing where you the person on the screen and the other person is seeing you on the screen. You can communicate with each other ask questions and get responses instantly.
While this technology is inevitable, it has other limitations which as teachers you must be aware. These include:
(i) The equipment required is expensive though the costs are gradually coming down. Modern speed computers with large memories are required for both temporary storage (RAM) and long term storage (ROM). Initial cost be high unless the school finds a financier/donor.
(ii) It is also important to be aware about the trained labourforce required. Having computer facilities is not enough. Life ware is required sometimes unavailable, less trained or just expensive to compensate.
(iii) While the cost of computer hardware is coming down every day, the cost of software still remains high forcing many of us to life on illegally copied software (pirated programs) that are sometimes unstable to work with and have their own problems.
(iv) Without electricity, the implementation of e-mode of learning in many of the schools seems far from reality. The use of generators, their exhaust fumes and cost of fuel all make e-mode far from being everyday life in manyparts of the Republic of Kenya.
(v) Convincing the general public who are the majority to adapt e-mode of teaching still remains a challenge.
(vi) In our class of ECT 212 and of course many administrators and of course in reality, you can never replace the physical teacher by a machine known as the computer and associated programs and peripherals. You can only supplement the teacher but not substitute.
(vii) The teacher is not only there for knowledge but also for modeling. How the students model the computer?

In conclusion, the advances in technology are very valuable in the teaching of Geography. Let Geographers not ignore. Understand its potentials and limitations before implementation.


(i) The Scheme of Work
  • A scheme of work is a clear and orderly statement of the work that the teacher plans to cover over a term or a year.
  • It breaks the syllabus into pieces/manageable topics.
  • It shows how the items in the syllabus will be taught/covered.
  • It represents the distribution of the syllabus items over the year.

Factors to consider when preparing a good scheme of work
a) Number of Geography Topics for the class – This is based on the syllabus. The number of periods in week should be considered. Geography in Form I and II may be having 3 lessons per class while Forms III and IV may have 4 per week. This must be considered when scheming.
b) Explore available sources of information – books, pictures, maps, magazines, diagrams. Make resources that are not available. You can also innovative.
c) Break the syllabus topics into lesson topic which must have at least two instructional objectives.

The following are some of the common features of a scheme of work (for more detils read the Unit Book pages 28-32).

(1) Administrative Details
- Also known as preliminary details
- Name of the School _
- Class -

- Name
- Registration Number __

(2) Main Columns of the Scheme of Work
(a) Week – Week 1 this is assumed to be the first week of the term followed by Week 2 among others.
(b) Period – Geography is allocated 3 periods for Forms I and II and 4 lessons for Form 3 and 4.
(c) Lesson Topic – Syllabus is broken into sub-topics. You have include a column for sub-topic.
(d) Objectives – Each lesson should have one or two instructional objectives (objectives which are measurable and can be achieved by the end of the lesson).
e.g., by the end of the lesson the learner should be able to:
(i) State the three causes of volcanic activity
(ii) Describe the formation of any four features formed by volcanic activity.
- Objectives sets what the teacher intends to achieve by the end of the lesson.
- The objectives should be balanced covering – cognitive, psychomotor, affective and social development aspects.
- Should also consider Bloom’s Taxonomy of educational objectives (knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation).
(e) Methods of Approach – State the methods you will use in teaching the topic. Methods can be student centered (preferred) such as group work, field work, laboratory, debate, interview, role play, brainstorming, project among other. The teacher does little work. Most work (80%) is done by students. The teach only guides students/acts as a referee. There are methods which are teacher centered (where the teacher does upto 80%). Students are recipient of knowledge e.g., lecture, demonstration, questioning among others. NB – USE A VARIETY OF METHODS INCLUDING STIMULUS VARIATIONS. THE MORE THE SENSES OF THE STUDENT YOU ARE ABLE TO USE THE BETTER).
(f) Teaching aids and Reference – It is advisable to use teaching resources in your class though this might be limited in some schools. Be innovative as much as you can. The resources include – atlases, maps of all types, photographs, diagrams, chalkboard, guest speakers, radio/Tvs, encylopaedia, globe, instruments, samples/specimen among others. Use variety again. – The teacher needs to select what is suitable. (USE AT LEAST TWO RESOURCES AND TWO REFERENCE BOOKS).
(g) Remarks Column – This is the column for making comments about problems/unforeseen circumstances that may interfere with teaching e.g., sports, assembly taking too long, visitors came to the school etc.

Conclusion – The scheme of work is a prerequisite in teaching.
It takes a lot of time to prepare but once in place it can be used for several years with some reviews/corrections.


I am working on this topic and once ready, I will post it to the internet before the end of today (Friday 9/4/2010).