Incorporating Mediated Learning Experience in Geography Lessons


With the recent emphasis on 21st century competencies, inquiry-based learning has been touted as the recommended pedagogy as it attempts to move away from didactic teaching. However, an analysis of the current geography syllabus revealed three possible areas of improvement: (1) lack of intentional mediation of cognitive functions (2) lack of continuous mediation and (3) lack of emphasis on enhancing students’ dispositions in learning. From research, inquiry-based learning could be complemented by MLE, a theory developed by Feuerstein which refers to the quality interaction between the mediator and learner. Therefore, the purpose of this research paper is to explore how principles of MLE may be applied to address the aforementioned areas of improvement to enhance students’ learning in the geography classroom. Subsequently, a broad conceptualization of how MLE may be utilized to underpin the inquiry-based learning approach will be provided. 

Inquiry-Based Learning as A Teaching Pedagogy

Over the years, revisions have been made to Singapore’s education system to better equip students with 21st century competencies to help them succeed in a rapidly changing world (Deng, Gopinathan, & Lee, 2013). One major reform in the education system is the introduction of Thinking Schools, Learning Nation (TSLN) in 1997 which is a vision that “describes a nation of thinking and committed citizens capable of meeting the challenges of the… 21st century” (Chang, 2012). In alignment with this vision to develop in students 21st century competencies, the humanities syllabuses adopted inquiry-based learning as the recommended teaching pedagogy (Afandi, 2013).

Geographical inquiry is a question-driven approach in which inquiry questions are asked (either by the teacher or students themselves) and students would subsequently find out the answers to those questions by embarking on an investigation (Roberts, 2013). According to Roberts (2013), the learning of geography through an inquiry approach gives students the opportunity to cultivate thinking skills such as reasoning, classifying information and analyzing data (refer to Figure 1). These skills could either be specific to geography or classified as general thinking skills which could also be applied to other subjects. Broadly, these thinking skills could also be thought of as cognitive functions. Cognitive functions are defined as “process variables that are themselves compounds of native ability, attitudes, work habits, learning history, motives and strategies” (Seng & Tan, 2008). Thus, in essence, cognitive functions refer to a broad spectrum of cognitive capabilities, representing different domains of thinking. Therefore, when teachers utilize the inquiry-based approach to teach geography, they are seeking to develop and enhance students’ cognitive functioning such that students could be equipped with the desired thinking skills. 

Related Teaching Materials

Annex299.66 KB

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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