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Sustainable Development in Geography Education for Middle School in China

School of Geographic Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
Division of Social Science and History, Delta State University, Cleveland, MS 38733, USA
Department of Geography, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, USA
The Department of Ecology and Geography, The Sergo Ordzhonikidze Russian State University for Geological Prospecting, Moscow 117997, Russia
Institute of Curriculum and Instruction, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3896;
Received: 25 September 2018 / Revised: 23 October 2018 / Accepted: 23 October 2018 / Published: 26 October 2018
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) had become a priority in many school systems. Geography has a tradition of investigating human-environment interactions and geography education is vital to make sense of sustainable development (SD). In this paper, the authors aimed to contribute to the implementation of ESD and SD in middle school geography, in The People’s Republic of China. This research employed a series of methods to analyze the content in (SD) in middle school geography standards and textbooks. The research surveyed geography teachers (n = 237) and assessed geography students (n = 246). Results exemplified both positive and negative conclusions from the data. Primarily, the findings suggested that geography education was important to ESD implementation, although the requirements for SD are low in the selected middle schools. The SD content was reflected clearly in the content standards and textbooks, but it was not evenly distributed in geography education. Many geography teachers in China have ample geography and interdisciplinary knowledge and they can use textbooks and other teaching methods to teach SD. The students’ performance, in a sample of four key schools, was considered “OK”, however there was still room for improvement. Most students were familiar with people, resources, environmental problems, and climate change, however, most were unable to grasp the factual knowledge about SD, such as international events and documents, latest predicted data, and research on global warming, as well as the indicators used in the specific SD assessment. Suggestions include providing students with more practical activities and a chance to do hands-on experiments, as well as building student organizations and clubs, improve Teachers’ knowledge, and understanding through teacher training program and build a platform for communicating ideas of SD through modern communication technology. Ideas of SD should be integrated into students’ daily life. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable development; geography education; implementation; China sustainable development; geography education; implementation; China
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MDPI and ACS Style

Guo, F.; Lane, J.; Duan, Y.; Stoltman, J.P.; Khlebosolova, O.; Lei, H.; Zhou, W. Sustainable Development in Geography Education for Middle School in China. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3896.

AMA Style

Guo F, Lane J, Duan Y, Stoltman JP, Khlebosolova O, Lei H, Zhou W. Sustainable Development in Geography Education for Middle School in China. Sustainability. 2018; 10(11):3896.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Guo, Fengtao, Joseph Lane, Yushan Duan, Joseph P. Stoltman, Olga Khlebosolova, Hao Lei, and Weiguo Zhou. 2018. "Sustainable Development in Geography Education for Middle School in China" Sustainability 10, no. 11: 3896.

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