Special Issue "Geography Education Promoting Sustainability—Series 1"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2019).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Eila Jeronen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 8000, University of Oulu, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
2. Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 9, Siltavuorenpenger 5A, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
3. Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Lapland, P.O. Box 122, FI-96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
Interests: education; teacher education; environmental education; sustainable development education; health education
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The aim of this Special Issue, “Geography Education Promoting Ssustainability is to provide ideas of how sustainability can be promoted in teaching, studying and learning in geography. In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it has been stated that all learners should acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development (United Nations, A/RES/70/1, 2015, 17). Consequently, and also with the great proliferation of knowledge and rapid changes in technology, it is important to develop students’ and student teachers’ understanding of the principles of sustainability.

The Special Issue welcomes all articles discussing views and experiences in geography education at schools and in teacher education that support curricular work and school practices sharing a vision of a society that lives in balance with Earth’s carrying capacity. In addition, your contribution can present and reflect on the ideas that offer learners a context for developing active citizenship and participation for understanding of the human–environment interactions. Articles can be review or empirical ones.

Dr. Eila Jeronen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • subject content knowledge
  • scientific skills
  • student's beliefs
  • student's motivation
  • student's self-regulation
  • education for sustainable development
  • environmental education

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
‘Nature Is Something We Can’t Replace’: Mexican Students’ Views of the Landscape They Want to Conserve
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10010013 - 31 Dec 2019
Viewed by 1766
Abstract
The primary aim of this qualitative study was to identify the landscapes that 7−12-year old Mexican students (n = 440) would like to conserve by analysing their drawings. Another aim was to determine the environmental relationship and environmental values of 5th and 6th [...] Read more.
The primary aim of this qualitative study was to identify the landscapes that 7−12-year old Mexican students (n = 440) would like to conserve by analysing their drawings. Another aim was to determine the environmental relationship and environmental values of 5th and 6th graders (n = 152) by studying their texts. The data were analysed using mixed methods. In this study, landscape is understood as a visual experience of the environment, comprising the visible features of an area. Based on the results, all of the three main landscapes—nature, social and built—were deemed worth conserving. Beyond students’ immediate environment, the polar regions, North America, Australia and Africa were mentioned; Europe and Asia were not. The landscape drawings were realistic and carefully made, and the descriptions attached to them were clearly written. The environmental approach was mainly humanistic, and aesthetic values were appreciated by both genders. Utilitarian values were mentioned more often by boys than girls. The students’ descriptions reflected their environmental relationship, e.g., concern about nature, showing causal relationships, appreciation and affection. Concern or worry was often accompanied by the mention of human’s responsibility in the students’ texts, but they seldom considered their own activities in relation to the environment. The students depicted threats to nature, but they externalized themselves from the mechanisms threatening nature. In addition, they did not show familiarity with natural processes and scientific terminology. The study reveals that it is not only theoretically important to have distinct values, but these also need to be recognized by individuals. If the humans’ pro-environmental actions are to be promoted through education, it is important to study students’ values, as they may be important barriers to behavioral change. As students showed concern about preserving nature, teachers can discuss environmental values and different ways to take action and make changes with them, in order to avoid anxiety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geography Education Promoting Sustainability—Series 1)
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Article
Teaching and Learning Methods in Geography Promoting Sustainability
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10010005 - 23 Dec 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3094
Abstract
Understanding and learning geographic knowledge and applying it to sustainable development (SD) depends not only on the knowledge itself, but also on how it is taught and studied. The teaching and learning methods for promoting sustainability in geography have not been thoroughly studied. [...] Read more.
Understanding and learning geographic knowledge and applying it to sustainable development (SD) depends not only on the knowledge itself, but also on how it is taught and studied. The teaching and learning methods for promoting sustainability in geography have not been thoroughly studied. This qualitative study examined articles on geography teaching and SD. The material was selected using keywords related to geography education. The study describes 17 articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals from 2008 to 2018. The focus group varied from primary to higher education. The proportion of teaching and learning methods were determined. The data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. The foci of the analyses were the teaching and learning methods, topics, goals, and levels of thinking skills. Additionally, features of the teaching methods used in geography education, including outdoor education, to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) were investigated. Different teaching methods used together and interactive learning were the most often preferred. Group work and teachers’ presentations were mentioned in 12 articles, and inquiry-based learning and argumentation in half of the articles. The most often written expressions promoting SD in geography education concerned environmental sustainability (42%), followed by social (25%), economic (19%), and cultural sustainability (14%). The most emphasized features of the current teaching methods were active participation, thinking skills, animation, evaluation, dialog, demonstrations, and information and communication technology skills. The whole school approach and forward-looking perspective in geography should be implemented in school education to reach the SDGs and to support SD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geography Education Promoting Sustainability—Series 1)
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Article
The Mystery Method Reconsidered—A Tool for Assessing Systems Thinking in Education for Sustainable Development
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9040260 - 23 Oct 2019
Viewed by 2094
Abstract
Influence diagrams, derived from the mystery method as its learning output, represent an externalization of systems thinking and are, therefore, valid to research; so far they have not been conceptualized in the research literature for teaching systems thinking in education for sustainable development. [...] Read more.
Influence diagrams, derived from the mystery method as its learning output, represent an externalization of systems thinking and are, therefore, valid to research; so far they have not been conceptualized in the research literature for teaching systems thinking in education for sustainable development. In this study, 31 of those diagrams are confronted with (1) three different expert references, in (2) two different ways, by (3) three different scoring systems to determine which evaluation option is both valid and easy to implement. As a benchmark, the diagrams’ diameters are used, which allows statements about the quality of the maps/diagrams in general. The results show that, depending on the combination of variables that play a role in the evaluation (1, 2, 3), the quality of the influence diagram becomes measurable. However, strong differences appear in the various evaluation schemes, which can be explained by each variable’s peculiarities. Overall, the tested methodology is effective, but will need to be sharpened in the future. The results also offer starting points for future research to further deepen the path taken here. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geography Education Promoting Sustainability—Series 1)
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Article
Conceptualization and Evaluation of a School Project on Climate Science in the Context of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(3), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9030217 - 14 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1993
Abstract
Anchored in the thirteenth of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), climate change is one of the key content areas in education for sustainable development. This evaluation study describes a school project that introduces students to scientific work and, more specifically, to scientific research [...] Read more.
Anchored in the thirteenth of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), climate change is one of the key content areas in education for sustainable development. This evaluation study describes a school project that introduces students to scientific work and, more specifically, to scientific research methods in climate research. Using a pre-post design, the evaluation uses a scale measuring epistemological beliefs, as well as two other scales addressing the relevance of climate change in society and career prospects in the field of climate research. The quantitative questionnaire data indicate an increase in future career aspirations in the field of climate research. The qualitative interview data reveal positive changes in the understanding of science and show that an understanding of the nature of science can be promoted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geography Education Promoting Sustainability—Series 1)
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Article
Landscape as Experienced Place and Worth Conserving in the Drawings of Finnish and Swedish Students
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(2), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9020093 - 27 Apr 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2036
Abstract
Children explore their environment through experiences and each experience is meaningful in developing their environmental consciousness and identity. On the basis of the drawn landscape experiences, the present qualitative study set out to find out what landscapes the participating students deemed worth conserving. [...] Read more.
Children explore their environment through experiences and each experience is meaningful in developing their environmental consciousness and identity. On the basis of the drawn landscape experiences, the present qualitative study set out to find out what landscapes the participating students deemed worth conserving. The data consisted of the drawings of 11- to 16-year-old Finnish (n = 311) and Swedish (n = 246) students. Deductive and inductive content analyses were used to analyse the data. The results showed that all three landscape types; nature, built, and social were presented in the drawings. Nature and built landscapes were the most frequent types, with the proportion of nature landscapes increasing and that of built landscapes decreasing with age. There were gender and cultural preferences: boys drew built landscapes more often than girls; and Finnish students drew summer cottages, a cultural phenomenon typical of Finnish landscapes, which was not found in Swedish drawings. Similarities in Finnish and Swedish data were identified e.g., in forest and water and “cultural landscapes”. Some of the students displayed a more distant, observing role, whereas others adopted an active one in relation to all three landscape types. The results are discussed in connection to the landscape theories and earlier findings of the drawn environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geography Education Promoting Sustainability—Series 1)
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Article
Regional Collaboration for Sustainability via Place-Based Ecology Education: A Mixed-Methods Case Study of the Upper Valley Teaching Place Collaborative
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9010006 - 29 Dec 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2009
Abstract
Place-based Ecology Education (PBEE) has emerged as a compelling approach to achieving the sustainability goals of Environmental Education (EE), including helping children understand, care about, and take action to protect the environment. Collaboration for teacher training can amplify and expand the reach and [...] Read more.
Place-based Ecology Education (PBEE) has emerged as a compelling approach to achieving the sustainability goals of Environmental Education (EE), including helping children understand, care about, and take action to protect the environment. Collaboration for teacher training can amplify and expand the reach and effectiveness of PBEE within a given geographic region. This case study of a collaborative of five PBEE professional development organizations provided a noteworthy example of collective evaluation. The primary data source was quantitative and qualitative analysis of 156 survey responses from K-12 classroom teachers, administered from 2016 to 2018 in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont. On average, teachers reported medium-sized (Cohen’s d 0.4 to 0.6), statistically significant changes over the prior year for all six PBEE core practices measured. Teacher responses to open-ended survey items suggested that PBEE often involves coordination between and contribution from multiple players with different roles but similar goals. Cross tabulation with quantitative results suggested that collaboration within schools was a central factor associated with high levels of PBEE practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geography Education Promoting Sustainability—Series 1)
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Article
Education for Sustainable Development through International Collaboration. A Case Study on Concepts and Conceptual Change of School‐Students from India and Austria on Gender Equality and Sustainable Growth
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040187 - 27 Oct 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2611
Abstract
Dealing with the great challenges of the 21st century requires far reaching changes in the lifestyle and perceptions of humans to ensure an appropriate quality of life for all, now and in the future. To provide people with the necessary competencies, the UN [...] Read more.
Dealing with the great challenges of the 21st century requires far reaching changes in the lifestyle and perceptions of humans to ensure an appropriate quality of life for all, now and in the future. To provide people with the necessary competencies, the UN initiated the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) program. The two-year research-education, cooperative project ‘AustrIndia-4QOL’ aims to contribute to the goals of ESD. It is based on a collaboration between students from schools in Austria and India on the topics of quality of life, sustainability and global justice. The purpose of this particular case study is to explore the effects of a weeklong face-to-face collaboration in the final part of the AustrIndia-4QOL project. Therefore, it is examined whether or not Austrian and Indian students’ concepts regarding the Sustainable Development Goals ‘Gender Equality’ and ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’ change as a consequence of encountering differing perspectives. Short texts written by the students at the beginning and at the end of this collaboration, according to guiding questions, form the basis for a qualitative content analysis. The findings illustrate that the students’ awareness increased and their evaluation of topics related to the discussed sustainable development goals changed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geography Education Promoting Sustainability—Series 1)
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Article
Education in Sustainable Development Goals Using the Spatial Data Infrastructures and the TPACK Model
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040171 - 16 Oct 2018
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2230
Abstract
Education in Sustainable Development Goals is a basic step in attaining its objectives, and, therefore, it has been undertaken by broad sectors of the teaching community. Nevertheless, the “sustainability curriculum” derived from the Sustainable Development Goals, in this case based on the data [...] Read more.
Education in Sustainable Development Goals is a basic step in attaining its objectives, and, therefore, it has been undertaken by broad sectors of the teaching community. Nevertheless, the “sustainability curriculum” derived from the Sustainable Development Goals, in this case based on the data of the Spatial Data Infrastructures, in spite of its teaching and research potential, is something with which the teaching body is not yet familiar. The results of the fieldwork carried out (questionnaires and Delphi technique) prove this to be the case. For this reason, in order to educate geographically in reflection and collaboration with the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals, the viewing, in a GIS on the Cloud (WebGIS) of indicators of interest is proposed for the Sustainable Development Goals taken from the Spatial Data Infrastructures within the framework of the TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) model. To facilitate all these learning objectives, a proposal for good practices in the classrooms of secondary schools and another proposal for university lectures have been designed, and the results applied and analyzed. These examples demonstrate empirically that, with adequate pedagogical tools, an education in geography for global understanding by integrating Sustainable Development Goals and Spatial Data Infrastructures can be achieved, which is what the TPACK model pursues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geography Education Promoting Sustainability—Series 1)
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Review

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Review
If a Tree Falls: Business Students Learning Active Citizenship from Environmentalists
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9040284 - 30 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1997
Abstract
This article presents and discusses student assignments reflecting on the documentary film If a Tree Falls, written as part of the Business Ethics and Sustainability course at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. This article follows two lines of inquiry. First, it challenges [...] Read more.
This article presents and discusses student assignments reflecting on the documentary film If a Tree Falls, written as part of the Business Ethics and Sustainability course at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. This article follows two lines of inquiry. First, it challenges mainstream environmental education, supporting critical pedagogy and ecopedagogy. These pedagogies, which advocate pedagogy for radical change, offer a distinct and valuable contribution to sustainability education, enabling students to critically examine normative assumptions, and learn about ethical relativity, and citizenship engagement from environmentalists. The discussion of “lessons of radical environmentalism” is pertinent to the question of what types of actions are likely to achieve the widely acceptable long-term societal change. While this article focuses on student reflection on a film about radical environmentalism, this article also discusses many forms of activism and raises the question of what can be considered effective activism and active citizenship in the context of the philosophy of (environmental or sustainability) education in connection didactics and curriculum studies. Second, this article argues for the need for reformed democracy and inclusive pluralism that recognizes the needs of nonhuman species, ecocentrism, and deep ecology. The connection between these two purposes is expressed in the design of the student assignment: It is described as a case study, which employs critical pedagogy and ecopedagogy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geography Education Promoting Sustainability—Series 1)

Other

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Perspective
An Issue of Scale: The Challenge of Time, Space and Multitude in Sustainability and Geography Education
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10020028 - 23 Jan 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2123
Abstract
The field of geography is important for any sustainability education. The aim of geography education is to enable students to understand the environment, its influence on human activity, and how humans influence the environment. In this article we present a study on how [...] Read more.
The field of geography is important for any sustainability education. The aim of geography education is to enable students to understand the environment, its influence on human activity, and how humans influence the environment. In this article we present a study on how the interplay between the three pillars of sustainability thinking (environment, society and economy) play out on smaller and larger scales of time, space and multitude in geography education. In this paper, we argue that central issues in high quality sustainability education in geography relates to students’ deeper grasp of how to shift between magnitudes of time, space and multitude patterns. We show how an appreciation of many core issues in sustainability education require students to understand and traverse different magnitudes of the scalable concepts of time, space and multitude. Furthermore, we argue and exemplify how common sustainability misconceptions arise due to an inability to make the cognitive shift between relevant magnitudes on these scalable concepts. Finally, we briefly discuss useful educational approaches to mediating this problem, including the use of digital tools in order to allow geography teachers to facilitate the students’ better understanding of different magnitudes of slow, fast, small and large scale entities and processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geography Education Promoting Sustainability—Series 1)
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