Portraying the developing PCK of Dutch pre-service geography teachers

Authors Eefje Smit, Hanneke Tuithof, Tine Béneker
Published in International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
Publication date 2023
Type Article


Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) is used to describe the knowledge teachers use to teach a specific subject to a specific audience. Although PCK is linked to student success and motivation, relatively little is known about the PCK of geography teachers. Through a mixed methods approach, we surveyed a group of 73 Dutch pre-service teachers in their final year of geography teacher education. We used the PCK-consensus model to address both PCK-on action (teacher knowledge) and PCK-in action (teacher practice). We investigated the former through a CoRe-assignment and the latter through a quantitative survey. Teacher’s PCK-in action focussed on teacher-centred lessons with ample attention for visualisations, current events, and efforts to engage students. The results for PCK-on action confirmed the content dependency of PCK. Pre-service teachers chose different geographical topics and used different goals and strategies when teaching these topics. In this context, we also found that they experienced difficulties when teaching controversial issues. In a final step, we combined the results of both methods for 9 teachers in individual PCK portraits. These portraits show that coherence between PCK-elements and, therefore, PCK-quality is still weak for most pre-service teachers. Consequently, their fragile subject matter knowledge seems to influence their developing PCK.

On this publication contributed

  • Eefje Smit
    • Lecturer-researcher
  • Hanneke Tuithof
    • Researcher
    • Research group: Research group Curriculum Development in Primary and Secondary Education

Language English
Published in International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
Key words geography education, Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), PCK-development, PCK-portraits, PCK-survey, pre-service teachers
Digital Object Identifier 10.1080/10382046.2023.2281652