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Special Issue "Geographical Education for Sustainable Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. María Luisa de Lázaro y Torres
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Geography Department, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Paseo de la Senda del Rey 7, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: human geography; sustainability; teaching and learning on/in/with and about sustainability; Sustainable Development Goals; education using geoinformation; WebGIS; innovation in higher education; Spanish dehesa landscape

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will comprise a selection of papers addressing relations between geographical education and sustainability with a special focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Education in Sustainable Development Objectives is a basic step in attaining these goals, and, therefore, it has been undertaken by broad sectors of the teaching community. Nevertheless, the “sustainability curriculum” is not an easy task. Still, it is a necessary step for the achievement of SDGs.

Adequate pedagogical tools and resources make possible an education in geography for global understanding, through the integration of Sustainable Development Goals into the learning and teaching process.

Some key research questions are:

  • How can we approach SDGs from the perspective of higher education?
  • How can we do this in geographical education?
  • How it is possible to achieve and evaluate results?
  • Is it possible to educate in landscape for the SDG?

Prof. Dr. María Luisa de Lázaro y Torres
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 single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 1900 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

  • geographical education
  • WebGIS
  • sustainability
  • Sustainable Development Goals

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Article
Trends and Perspectives in Education for Sustainable Development in the Teaching of Geography in Spain
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 13118; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313118 - 26 Nov 2021
Viewed by 215
Abstract
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should be known and assumed by the community of geography teachers in all levels of education as a key part of their educational work. In order for well-grounded SDGs-related geographic didactic proposals to be presented, and for [...] Read more.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should be known and assumed by the community of geography teachers in all levels of education as a key part of their educational work. In order for well-grounded SDGs-related geographic didactic proposals to be presented, and for researchers in didactics to find a way to incorporate and promote SDG-related contents in daily teaching, a thorough knowledge of the relevant geographical literature is mandatory. The aim of this work is to present the results of a review comprising 1183 papers submitted to the 22 congresses on the didactics of Geography organised by the Spanish Association of Geography working group in didactics from 1988 to 2019, as well as 186 works published in the only Spanish journal on the Didactics of Geography, Didáctica Geográfica. This analysis focuses on the contents addressed in these studies, as well as on the skills and didactic strategies related to the teaching of SDGs. It was found that most SDGs-related contributions in Spain deal with landscape and the environment. Regarding skills, it was concluded that much remains to be done concerning Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Finally, the current and future role of ESD in geographical teaching in Spain is assessed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Education for Sustainable Development)
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Article
Can GIS Foster Conscious and Critical Learning in Geography? An Application from Students to a Real Case Included in the National Strategy for Inner Areas: Monti Dauni, Apulia (Italy)
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9246; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169246 - 18 Aug 2021
Viewed by 772
Abstract
Digital technologies, the use of which has progressively increased over the last few years, could represent key tools in learning and active citizenship in development processes. In this sense, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) have gradually become an integral part of various disciplines and [...] Read more.
Digital technologies, the use of which has progressively increased over the last few years, could represent key tools in learning and active citizenship in development processes. In this sense, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) have gradually become an integral part of various disciplines and sectors. Even if the relevance and diffusion of GIS in the educational and pedagogical fields are increasing, their potential is still under-explored in the development of empowerment for participatory planning. Regarding the combination of geographical education and information technologies applied to the territories, the contribution they offer to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is a question which remains little-investigated, and which represents both an innovative field of experimentation and significant opportunities, especially for marginal, inner areas. However, recent reforms, in particular in Italy, are considerably reducing the role of geography in the curricula, which is paradoxical for such complex contexts and the understanding of major global issues. The risk is that of producing a gap between the functional use of the tools and the capacity for their critical application. This paper aims to reflect on the integration of Geography and GIS through teaching experimentation, as applied to a real case study in the Apulia region (Monti Dauni Area) under the national strategy for inner areas, in order to understand how to use GIS as an active tool in education for sustainability, the awareness of the value of local resources, and active citizenship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Education for Sustainable Development)
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Article
Disaster Risk Reduction Education in School Geography Curriculum: Review and Outlook from a Perspective of China
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3963; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073963 - 02 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 719
Abstract
In order to investigate the content evolution of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the school geography curriculum in China, this research used the five dimensions of DRR learning framework, namely knowledge, response, action, participation, and integration, as a platform and a conceptual premise [...] Read more.
In order to investigate the content evolution of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the school geography curriculum in China, this research used the five dimensions of DRR learning framework, namely knowledge, response, action, participation, and integration, as a platform and a conceptual premise upon which to review the primary and secondary school geography curriculum standards from 1986 to the present. Geography as a carrier subject had been an integration approach of DRR in the national curriculum in China. Using the method of qualitative content analysis with the support of the software NVivo 12, we came to the following results: the DRR-relevant content in the geography curriculum standards that used for analysis in this research had undergone constant changes and finally reached a relatively stable state; the changes of DRR-relevant contents in primary school, middle school, and high school curriculum presented different characteristics. In the future geography curriculum reform, it is necessary to realize that the term disaster does not describe the natural event per se, but instead its impact on/consequences for infrastructure and society. It is bound to add more DRR-relevant content that belongs to the “action” dimension and the ‘participation’ dimension, especially at the primary and middle school stages, and to systematically incorporate the DRR-relevant content of the “integration” dimension into the school geography curriculum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Education for Sustainable Development)
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Article
Characterization of Environmental Education in Spanish Geography Textbooks
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031159 - 22 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 791
Abstract
Environmental problems endanger the sustainability and survival of our planet. A way to raise awareness of the seriousness of the current environmental situation among future citizens and instill proactive behaviors that place the environment at the center of decision-making is environmental education. This [...] Read more.
Environmental problems endanger the sustainability and survival of our planet. A way to raise awareness of the seriousness of the current environmental situation among future citizens and instill proactive behaviors that place the environment at the center of decision-making is environmental education. This study analyzes nine primary and secondary education textbooks in order to see what environmental education students receive as part of the subject of geography across the years of compulsory education in Spain. These textbooks are published by three different and main companies, which are a good example of the adaptation of the official curriculum. The study was conducted using the design and development of a coding sheet combining analysis of format (quantitative) and content (qualitative). The results show much room for improvement there is in environmental education in Spain. This improvement should start from the organization of the curriculum and its subsequent transposition into the textbooks. Thus, many changes are needed if we wish to build a society capable of effectively solving the threat of the environmental problems that surround us. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Education for Sustainable Development)
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Article
Outdoor Education, the Enhancement and Sustainability of Cultural Heritage: Medieval Madrid
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1106; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031106 - 21 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1032
Abstract
Education has a crucial role to play in helping meet the Sustainable Development Goals, for which the initial training of university teachers, and its evaluation, are all essential. In this context, the authors developed an outdoor work task, consisting of an orientation game [...] Read more.
Education has a crucial role to play in helping meet the Sustainable Development Goals, for which the initial training of university teachers, and its evaluation, are all essential. In this context, the authors developed an outdoor work task, consisting of an orientation game in ‘medieval Madrid’. The main objective was to show future teachers how they can enable their own students to value cultural heritage in order to acquire sustainability competencies. The task was evaluated by participants using a questionnaire, in order to make them aware of the acquired competencies. A gamification component was added to the outdoor task to create a healthy competitive environment. In this way, future teachers were able to observe how a teaching activity is evaluated; learn how to organize a didactic activity that can be extrapolated to other territorial and heritage realities; and employ their mobile devices to learn the foundations of sustainability in heritage management. Additionally, they acquired teaching competencies that promoted quality education and contributed towards two of the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically: 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” and 11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Education for Sustainable Development)
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Article
Social Representations of Flooding of Future Teachers of Primary Education (Social Sciences): A Geographical Approach in the Spanish Mediterranean Region
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6065; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12156065 - 28 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 842
Abstract
The risk of flooding is the main natural hazard that affects the European Mediterranean region. This hazard has worsened in recent decades due to the occupation of flood areas and the effects of climate change. Therefore, understanding and gaining a more in-depth knowledge [...] Read more.
The risk of flooding is the main natural hazard that affects the European Mediterranean region. This hazard has worsened in recent decades due to the occupation of flood areas and the effects of climate change. Therefore, understanding and gaining a more in-depth knowledge of social representations of flooding is important. In addition, interest in this subject is accentuated in the case of future teachers. This is because it is mandatory to teach this subject in Primary Education (Grades 1–6; Social Sciences subject). The aims of this research are: (1) To explore the instruction about flooding received by future teachers during their school period, and (2) to examine their perception about factors influencing flood risk. Methodologically, a questionnaire was distributed among future teachers of Primary Education (Faculty of Teaching Training, University of Valencia, Spain). The results regarding the respondents’ perception show that only 21.3% of the future teachers received instruction about floods during their school period. With reference to factors that influence floods, they mostly believe that the main factors are climate change and the spatial land management. Furthermore, 51.3% believe that this phenomenon has been increasing over the last few years, and 82.5% think that it rains heavier today. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Education for Sustainable Development)
Article
Explaining Urban Sustainability to Teachers in Training through a Geographical Analysis of Tourism Gentrification in Europe
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010067 - 20 Dec 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1417
Abstract
Urban centres in Europe have been recently affected by touristification processes which endanger their sustainable development. In this context, education in urban sustainability is gaining great importance at all stages of education. It has been noticed that this issue is not appropriately presented [...] Read more.
Urban centres in Europe have been recently affected by touristification processes which endanger their sustainable development. In this context, education in urban sustainability is gaining great importance at all stages of education. It has been noticed that this issue is not appropriately presented in primary education studies where “tourism” is one of the topics to be addressed. This paper provides the design of a teaching activity for teachers in training in order to understand the process of tourism gentrification in European cities. The aim of this activity is to enable the transfer of knowledge to primary education concerning contemporary urban processes involving tourism within a framework of respect and sustainability. This activity is based on an urban geographical analysis in public squares located in touristified districts of several European cities. This is achieved by way of a visual, interactive and cartographic analysis and evaluation. This paper presents the results of the didactic experience in Madrid. The results are positive, since students develop geographic abilities, attitudes of respect, critical thinking, and contrasted knowledge about tourism gentrification. We conclude with a call for a conceptual update of contemporary urban processes involving tourism in primary education curricula and advise that teachers in training should be taken to the field to explain complex spatial phenomena. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Education for Sustainable Development)
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Article
A Study on Memory Sites Perception in Primary School for Promoting the Urban Sustainability Education: A Learning Module in Calabria (Southern Italy)
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6379; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226379 - 13 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 815
Abstract
This paper constitutes a study on representations of Risorgimento sites of memory in Calabria (southern Italy), analyzing the development of the perceptive skills of primary school children through a learning module. The initial hypothesis wants to demonstrate that some factors identified by the [...] Read more.
This paper constitutes a study on representations of Risorgimento sites of memory in Calabria (southern Italy), analyzing the development of the perceptive skills of primary school children through a learning module. The initial hypothesis wants to demonstrate that some factors identified by the geographer Antoine Bailly influence the perception of children in relation to the single research topics that concern: The possibility to reach and to easily access memory sites and any barriers or difficulties encountered; the aesthetic and functional judgment and the most popular aspects of the sites of memory; the orientation skills during the journey from the school to the site of memory; the elaboration of a mental map. The learning module titled “The mental representation of the sites of memory of the Risorgimento” was carried out in the primary schools of three provincial capitals of Calabria (southern Italy): Catanzaro, Cosenza, and Crotone. Children in the direct and indirect observation of the geo-historic pathway of the Risorgimento sites of memory in Calabria show that they fit well in the role of young geographers and investigators of the surrounding reality. Finally, this contribution aims to highlight the important relationship between the geography of perception and education for sustainability in schools starting from the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Education for Sustainable Development)
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Article
Project-Based Learning through Information and Communications Technology and the Curricular Inclusion of Social Problems Relevant to the Initial Training of Infant School Teachers
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6370; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226370 - 13 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 956
Abstract
Project-based learning (PBL) is considered to be one of the most highly valued methods in the development and acquisition of competencies at all educational levels. From an interdisciplinary and collaborative focus, pupils acquire knowledge and skills through investigative tasks, with a view to [...] Read more.
Project-based learning (PBL) is considered to be one of the most highly valued methods in the development and acquisition of competencies at all educational levels. From an interdisciplinary and collaborative focus, pupils acquire knowledge and skills through investigative tasks, with a view to responding to a problem or challenge, in the form of a final product. The methodological implementation of PBL in specific teacher-training contexts is especially useful for curricular inclusion and the didactic treatment of relevant contemporary social problems and socially alive questions. In this investigation, the assessment of the perceived learning of a group of infant-education teacher trainees (n = 59), following a teacher-training program on social problems, is analyzed. The program is designed on the basis of the principal methodologies of PBL and the operational integration of information and communications technology (ICT) (WebQuests). The study begins with the pre-experimental quantitative designs of a cross-cutting prospective nature with a control group. The results provide information on the special didactic potential of active methodologies, including PBL, for the creative development of thought processes and the acquisition of social competencies and good citizenship in relation to social problems on interdisciplinary curricular projects for infant education. Likewise, it is evident that PBL methodology through ICT facilitates the acquisition of technological competencies, linked to the development of social and communicative competencies, as well as cooperative–collaborative work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Education for Sustainable Development)
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Article
Analysis of Sustainability Activities in Spanish Elementary Education Textbooks
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5182; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195182 - 21 Sep 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1153
Abstract
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets up education as a fundamental tool to educate and raise awareness of the importance of sustainable development; thus, education in schools must fulfill this purpose. Regarding to Primary Education in Spain, legislation establishes that sustainability must [...] Read more.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets up education as a fundamental tool to educate and raise awareness of the importance of sustainable development; thus, education in schools must fulfill this purpose. Regarding to Primary Education in Spain, legislation establishes that sustainability must be addressed in a transversal manner, although it is explicitly mentioned in the curriculum as content to be addressed by the social sciences subject. Given that, in practice, textbooks are one of the most used tools by teachers, in this paper, we analyse the treatment given to sustainability by the activities of the textbooks of social sciences in Primary Education of the main Spanish publishers, from two perspectives: analysis of cognitive complexity and study of the subtopic regarding sustainability addressed in each activity. For the analysis of cognitive complexity of activities, Bloom’s taxonomy (six cognitive categories) and Costa’s questioning levels (three levels of questioning) were used. The results reveal an abundance of cognitively simple activities, along with a shortage of cognitively complex activities. The most addressed subtopics are environmental problems and recycling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Education for Sustainable Development)
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Article
Reviewing Vietnam Geography Textbooks from an ESD Perspective
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2466; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092466 - 26 Apr 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1773
Abstract
This paper examines how Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is transmitted in the context of geography education by investigating the extent to which geography textbooks in Vietnam promote ESD principles. At the same time, the paper helps clarify how ESD is anchored in [...] Read more.
This paper examines how Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is transmitted in the context of geography education by investigating the extent to which geography textbooks in Vietnam promote ESD principles. At the same time, the paper helps clarify how ESD is anchored in formal education and how ESD is contextualized in the specific context of Vietnam. This study involved a qualitative analysis supported by MAXQDA software (VERBI, Berlin, Germany), where geography textbooks from grade 6 to grade 12 in Vietnam were analysed to determine (1) how sustainable development (SD) issues are integrated into the content of the textbooks and (2) the extent to which questions and tasks in the textbooks promote competencies regarding the demands of ESD. The findings show that the textbooks somewhat promote ESD through their content and didactic approach. However, there are still some drawbacks. In terms of content, the textbooks’ main approaches to both SD content and geography core knowledge are description and indoctrination. In terms of their didactic approach, almost all questions/tasks ask students to memorize and reproduce information and rote learning rather than helping them promote ESD competencies. This reconfirms that ESD remains an add-on issue to an overcrowded curriculum, and the geography textbooks reflect an instrumental approach to ESD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Education for Sustainable Development)
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