Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Gritzner

Commitee Members

Heather Almquist, Sarah Halvorson


geography education, education in Montana, geography education research, teaching motivations


University of Montana


The purpose of this research was to develop an understanding of the motivating and demotivating factors for teaching geography. The research examined what aspects of policy, preparation, administration, etc. affect a teacher’s desire to teach geography concepts in the (K)-12 classroom. By understanding these factors, organizations and programs can begin to mitigate them with the intention of encouraging teacher to teach quality geography concepts, and ultimately produce students with increased geographical knowledge and literacy. The research created a set of primary source data that will be utilized for further research and strategic planning. The research will assist the Montana Geographic Alliance with its objectives, as well as provide a foundation for strengthening geography education in Montana. The research is in alignment with the recommendations made by the Road Map Project in 2013. The Road Map project is a multi-organization plan that brought together National Geographic Society, the Association of American Geographers, the National Council for Geographic Education, and the American Geographical Society. The meetings of these groups resulted in a comprehensive plan to understand the needs of geography education in the nation, and suggested methods of encouraging geography by ways of directing instructional materials and professional development, assessment, and geography education research. The research was conducted to gain an understanding of teaching motivations and aligned with the recommendations indicated in the geography education research section. By following those recommendations, the research will assist The University of Montana, particularly the Department of Geography, with understanding the reasons why an individual pursues teaching geography, and how they can better serve those pre-service teachers who may be interested in specializing in geography. The research consisted of a sequential exploratory strategy that included in-depth interviewing and surveying of sixty-five Montana K-12 teachers.



© Copyright 2014 Kayde Ellen Kaiser