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Reconciling discourse about geography and teaching geography: The case of Singapore pre-service teachers
Subject knowledge and beliefs
Geographical Education
Classroom practice
Teacher education
Teacher identity
Issue Date: 
Seow, T. (2016). Reconciling discourse about geography and teaching geography: The case of Singapore pre-service teachers. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 25(2), 151-165.
This study draws upon a Foucauldian (1971, 1979) notion of discourse to explore how four pre-service geography teachers in Singapore made decisions about what geography is and how to enact their understandings of geography in their classrooms. This analysis of discursive power is particularly relevant to Singapore because of the high level of state control over geography and teacher education. The particular ways in which teacher education is organised in this context also exerts a number of conflicting discursive pressures that pre-service teachers have to reconcile in their subject conceptions and practice. Drawing upon data gathered from concept maps, photo elicitiation exercises, interviews and analyses of teachers’ lesson plans and school curricular documents, the study highlights the dominance of discourses at the state and school levels in the Singapore geography education context. However, it also the notes the ways through which participants “resisted” discourse (Butler, 1991, 1993; Moore, 2004), underscoring the importance of pre-service teachers’ professional identities and beliefs about geography education in sustaining their practice through difficult times.
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education. The published version is available online at
1038-2046 (print)
1747-7611 (online)
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Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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