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From Spatial Intelligence to Spatial Competences: The Results of Applied Geo-Research in Italian Schools

Author(s): Emilia SARNO

Journal: Review of International Geographical Education Online
ISSN 2146-0353

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 165;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: spatial intelligence | spatial competence | teaching/ learning of geography | geo-research

This contribution explains the connection between spatial intelligence and spatial competences and by indicating how the first is the cognitive matrix of abilities necessary to move in space as well as to represent it. Indeed, two are principal factors involved in the spatial intelligence: orientation and representation. Both are based on a close interaction between spatial thought and movement in space. I show the basic features of spatial intelligence through the analysis of specialist literature. This point, however, requires a further step to be taken into consideration: how can spatial intelligence be strengthened together with the related spatial competences? Moreover, which branch of knowledge is the most suitable to do so? By referring to the existing literature on the subject, we would like to indicate that geography has a pre-eminent role in dealing with the connection between man and space and as such it is the most suitable academic discipline to aid the development of spatial abilities through a series of precise didactic activities. The second part of this paper presents an experimental prototype of this kind of targeted teaching activity following the research-action method, an approach where theory and practice meet allowing a systematic collection of data. In effect, the stages of an experimental framework which has allowed the spatial intelligence of primary school children to be developed has been described and the methods of monitoring the results have also be illustrated.
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