Application of The Geographical Research Competency with Students using Interactive Didactic Techniques
The present paper has been elaborated as a motivation to support the development of students’ brainwork competencies (formed in the high school cycle) which, during the university years become scientific research competencies. In order to achieve the objectives of the paper, I have performed a didactic experiment with 10 students involved in the elaboration of their graduate theses and articles for the Students’ Scientific Conference who used interactive didactic techniques such as: the Venn diagram, brainstorming, the algorithm, SWOT analysis, etc. As a result, the paper focuses upon practical and methodological aspects of the research activity performed with students. I shall present selectively, in this article’s contents, the methodological- practical concept of the research activity on students. The research activity’s practical model refers to: research technique’s application algorithm, competency to select theme-suitable research methods by applying interactive techniques, competency to process information sources, set out relationships between objects, correlate geographical processes or phenomena. Also, competencies to draw conclusions, manner of drafting and presenting a paper can be achieved during research. By using interactive didactic techniques I have constructed the basis to develop students’ professional activity, including in the field of education, research and innovation.
Keywords: Key competencegeographical research competencyresearch plan
The present day European educational system lays the emphasis on the formation, promotion and
development of students’ necessary competences in order to successfully enter the professional activity.
The documents elaborated by the European Commission stipulate the following: a key competence refers
to a set of multifunctional and transferrable knowledge, in our case geographical knowledge, abilities and
attitudes all individuals need for personal development, social and
8056-8cea02223d1e&groupId=11028). The research competency is important for a future specialist,
based on a variety of specific competencies for research plan: the identification of the research issue, the
formulation of goals and research objectives, the elaboration of the working hypotheses, the selection of
information, the choice of strategies, the design of research, the presentation of results, the application of
competencies, the evaluation of the research process and of the obtained product.
Theoretical Foundation and Related Literature
A competency is “the certified capacity to select, combine and use knowledge, abilities and other
acquisitions (values and attitudes) adequately“, with a view to solve successfully a certain activity or
learning situation. The competency is detailed from the perspective of responsibility and autonomy
similarly as in the European Qualification Framework (the recommendation of the European Parliament
and of the Council of the 23rd April 2008 as regards the European Qualification Framework for Lifelong
Learning). The competencies are classified into two categories:
1) Professional competence represents the certified capacity to select, combine and use knowledge,
abilities and other acquisitions (values, attitudes) adequately, with a view to solve certain categories of
working or learning situations successfully, under efficiency and performance conditions;
2) Transversal competences are the competencies which transcend a certain domain or program of
studies, having a transdisciplinary character. They include teamwork skills, oral and written
communication skills, maternal and foreign language communication skills, ICT skills, problem-solving
and decision-taking skills, diversity and multiculturality understanding and respect abilities, autonomy
learning, initiative and entrepreneurial spirit, opening for lifelong learning. (Dulamă&Ilovan, 2013)
competencies to students through the progression of the elaboration stages of the graduation papers, of the
papers for the Scientific Conference for students and of the elaboration of the methodical-scientific papers
for the didactical qualification –level one, by using interactive didactic techniques.
of the graduation papers, of the papers for the Students’ scientific conference and for the methodical-
scientific papers for the didactical qualification –level one, through using interactive didactic techniques,
then develop geographical research competency.
who were elaborating their graduation papers, of 10 students who were preparing the papers for the
Students’ scientific conference and of 10 teachers from Primary and Preschool education cycle who were
elaborating methodical-scientific papers for the didactical qualification-level one.
The didactic experiment for students and didactic staff had been developed during the university
year 2014-2015 at the Education Sciences Department from the Faculty of Education Sciences,
University of Pitesti, Romania.
Results and Discusions
The practical model of the research refers to:
method used was brainstorming. This method represents the formulation of many ideas as a response to a
given situation, following the principle that quantity generates quality (a large creative capacity is
necessary in order to reach viable and unedited ideas. The stages of brainstorming are (Miu, 2013):
-The choice of the theme and of the working task;
-Brevity in expressing all ideas and with no censorship. Critical references will not be allowed;
-Exposure of all ideas in writing (on the blackboard and flipchart);
-Announcing a break for clarifying ideas (from 15 minutes to one day);
-Restate the ideas presented and their arrangement into categories, symbols, keywords, images
representing different criteria;
-Critical analysis, evaluation, argumentation, re-argumentation of the previous ideas, at the class level
or smaller groups;
-Selection of original ideas or of the closest feasible for the topic under discussion;
-Posting the resulted ideas in many varied and original forms: words, sentences, collages, images,
drawings, songs, role-play, etc.
The advantages of this interactive method are (Miu, 2013):
-Active participation of all students and teachers;
-Developing capacities of living certain situations, to analyze them, to take decisions as concerns the
choice of the optimal solution;
-Expressing one’s personality;
-Exercising creativity and certain open attitudes at the group level;
-Developing interpersonal relations through the exploitation of individual ideas;
-Achievement of a warm and emulative climate.
-Its efficiency depends on the moderators’ quality to handle the generation of ideas;
-The ideas/solutions expressed by students and teachers can have an idealistic character;
-In the first part, I proposed students and teachers to formulate themes which could interest them
in the elaboration of the graduation papers, papers for the Scientific conference or methodical-
scientific themes for the didactical qualification- level one, being entered in the following table
-In the second part, the students and teachers presented their themes, completing the first column
from a proposed table. After that, the most scientifically relevant themes had been debated,
corrected, selected and entered the second column of the table;
-The third part included the research process which stays at the base of the research proper
according to the following stages (Dulamă, 2008,2013):, the choice of the research theme (the
selected theme), the elaboration of the research plan (investigations in the local level,
accumulation of material, the methods used), paper elaboration, paper presentation according to
the schedule, paper evaluation.
-In the first part, I proposed to students or to teachers to study a text about the methodology of research methods used in the geographical research and to choose the relevant ones for their own research. -In the second part, the students and the teachers selected the methods used in the research. They brought arguments for the use of interactive methods such as: brainstorming, projection, case study, laboratory practical activities, activities developed in nature, exercise, modelling, the experiment, algorithm, logical-mathematical modelling, the debate, computer assisted instruction, comparative study, documentation, investigation, monograph, creative learning, report, presentation, scientific paper, discovery, simulator learning underlining the strong and the weak points.
-The exercise represents a learning method in which the practical/real interactive action prevails. This method involves the automation of didactic action through the consolidation and improvement of basic operations which ensure the achievement of a didactic task at specified and recurrent performance levels. Efficient under pedagogical organization it supports the acquisition of specific geographical information and capacities by forming certain skills which can be permanently integrated at the level of different teaching-learning-evaluation activities.
The pedagogical value of the exercise reflects the integration level of the acquired skill in the design and achievement structure of the learning activity. This allows a permanent intervention of the exercise in the learning sequences which requires the control, retrieval, application and analysis of the subject in terms of concrete objectives which targets not only the consolidation of skills but also the development of operative capacities of re-actualized/profound information and capacities in different didactic contexts with a view to eliminate or to prevent the interference or obliteration of notions, rules, formulae, principles, laws, theories, etc. Didactic exercises can be classified according to their degree of complexity (simple, semi-complex and complex) or control exercises of automated action (controlled, semi-controlled, self-controlled exercises). The use of this method to a large extent led to a classification based on the share of intellectual capacities necessary for their solving: • knowledge exercises of some notions, formulas and methods; • applied exercises of certain known algorithms or formulas; • exercises which allow the acquisition of a notion.
The advantages of the method are seen in the results of its application: by forming a productive thinking, it offers the possibility of an independent work and activates the critical and self-critical sense to students through self-appreciating the results and the working methods. This method does not only contribute to the formation of working skills and abilities but it also brings a considerable infusion to the
development of a flexible and operative reasoning. The third part emphasizes the conclusions that
followed the application of interactive techniques which contribute to the arrangement of thoughts, to the
development of imagination, to constructive ideas for the research theme, to originality. We present some
interactive group methods below:
The cube- represents a technique through which a theme is studied from several perspectives. The
sides of the cube contain interactions the students have to solve: describe, compare, analyze, associate,
apply and argue.
The WENN diagram is made up of two ellipses which superpose partially. Similarities are grouped
in their intersection and differences between two elements, ideas, phenomena will be noted in the inside
of each ellipsis.
The cluster is a brainstorming method which impel students to identify the connection among
ideas and which develops following the next steps:- the teacher writes a word (which refers to the
research theme) in the middle of the blackboard;- the students enumerate and communicate all ideas,
structures or information connected to the respective theme. The teacher notes them around the initial
word, making the necessary connections;- in the shaped cluster, new words and ideas are written and the
apparently related words are united by lines;-the activity ends when ideas run low or when the time limit
The diagram of causes and effects in a research offers the possibility of emphasizing the sources of
a problem, of an event or of a result. The diagrams are used by the research group as acreative process of
generating and organizing the main(primary) causes and minor(secondary) causes of an effect.
-The group of students is divided into working teams;
-The matter to be discussed is established which is the result of a special event or happening and
namely the effect. Each group must analyze an effect;
-The debate takes place in each group in order to discover the causes leading to the effect;
-Building the diagram of causes and effect is described as it follows: - effect is figured in the main axis
of the diagram; - major(main) causes of the effect corresponding to the 6 questions: WHEN, WHERE,
WHO, WHY, WHAT, HOW? are put on the arms of the main axis; Minor(secondary) causes are
analyzed and put on a smaller arm which is deduced from the one of the major cause;
-The list of causes generated by each group is analyzed, conclusions are drawn and the importance of
major causesis determined.
The competency to elaborate a working hypothesis and the algorithm of applying interactive techniques.
The working hypothesis is elaborated according to the research theme by students in writing. The paper was read, corrected and commented upon within the group. The applying this techniques allow students to systematize their thoughts, to develop imagination, to accumulate constructive ideas for the research theme, to approach the subject in a personal manner in a relatively short period of time.
The competency to process information sources and the algorithm of applying interactive
In applying this competency we used scientific documentation and selection of bibliography,
the study of information sources, denoting and systematization of information. Scientific documentation
includes a set of self-instruction techniques through which one can acquire and develop the research
competency. In achieving this stage, students and the other participants to the scientific research need
following skills: to understand a text in the lecturing process, to elaborate and support the arguments and
counterarguments, to systematize and structure the ideas and information, to interpret the information and
all materials, to self-evaluate. The students work with the information sources using “Source processing
worksheet” this one being used successfully in elaborating accounts, articles, graduation or dissertation
papers, methodical-scientific papers, etc.
The competency to establish relations among objects, to correlate processes and phenomena and the algorithm of applying interactive techniques.
Defining basic terms and key concepts of investigation is important for the respective research. This working stage had been achieved by using the technique “Key-terms -revised” which aims at settling relations among these terms, from cause to the effect or the sequence of events, or among different phenomena presented in the text, such as the correlation or description of a process or phenomenon described (Dulamă, 2002,2008). Hereafter, papers are verified, mistakes are corrected where necessary and strong and weak points are debated. By applying interactive techniques, the students and other researchers get used to differentiate and define the basic terms, key concepts of their research.
The competency to formulate conclusions and the algorithm of applying interactive techniques.
For the complex research of a geographical object or phenomenon we used the technique
an object, phenomenon or process, strong and weak points are analyzed concomitantly, then external
influences. Positive eternal factors or conditions are considered as possibilities or opportunities and the
negative ones as dangers, hazards and threats (Dulamă, 2008). By applying interactive techniques, the
students and other researchers get used to delimit and define basic terms, key concepts of their subsequent
research. In a SWOT analysis, one can distinguish two categories of components grouped according to
their location environment. Thus, in the internal background, one can identify
through which the area or the respective domain can achieve a rapid implementation of the phenomenon
These depend on the internal characteristics of the geographical phenomenon or on the external
background where one can identify
implementation of the elaborated strategy and the
the achievement of the set goal.
Through the SWOT analysis, students develop their competency to analyze a geographical object,
process, phenomenon or aspect from four different perspectives, to support their opinion, to settle causal
relations among objects, processes and phenomena, to anticipate and predict the evolution of certain
The competency to elaborate a paper or to write a paper and the algorithm of applying interactive techniques.
This working stage used the technique
elaboration of the paper, following the devised plan, respecting orthography, punctuation, etc. Writing a
paper takes a long period of time, from a few weeks to months, according to the designed objectives.
The competency to present a paper publicly and the algorithm of applying interactive techniques.
A paper elaborated through research by students can be presented in several ways, using techniques of graphical organization of information. In this case, we proposed the technique
Valorizes the diverse types of intelligence: uses different didactic materials: photos, drawings, illustrations;
Favors communication due to cooperative activities; identification of characteristic elements of a theme which target situations, processes, phenomena, communication and relational contexts;
Contributes to creating varied verbal structures: curiosities, messagesand reflections; Cultivates team spirit; Obtained products are based on a synthesis capacity.
The promotion of professional competencies of the future specialist who is expected to know,
understand and guide his student represents the goal and the objectives of educational program at
curricular disciplines and extracurricular activities. After having applied this didactic experiment we
found out that the strategy applied in the research activities of students and teaching staff was very
efficient through the fact that:
-Certain difficulties can be avoided during the research;
-We monitored and appreciated students’activity through analyzing their manner of solving the
working tasks permanently;
-We succeeded to create a rapid feed-back by applying an active working and individual research style;
-Applying the research competencies for students through the use of interactive didactic techniques, we
formed the basis for the development of professional activities in the field of education, research and
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