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Sustainable development within geography education

PhD project The Postgraduate School in the Educational Sciences

Sustainable development is a concept that has gained great importance in today's society and so also in school. Swedish compulsory school includes sustainable development in teaching in several school subjects. The subject of geography is a subject that was assigned a part of this responsibility at an early stage.

Head of project

Hampus Forsman
Doctoral student (on leave)

Project overview

Project period:

Start date: 2021-09-01

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Geography, Umeå School of Education

Research area

Educational sciences, Human geography

Project description

An advantage that geography has is the holistic perspective that specifically looks at the connection between social and natural processes. To gain knowledge about sustainability, these connections are central to pupils understanding. In order to more easily understand these connections in relation to the discussion about sustainability and sustainable development, it is important, among other things, that pupils develop their spatial (spatial) thinking.

Previous research has shown that the geography education in schools is often traditional. The traditional approach to the school subject has led to the teaching focusing on name-geography, while different connections have not been treated to the same extent. For that reason, it may be that this natural arena, to address issues related to sustainability, is not always noticed. The purpose of the dissertation will therefore be to investigate how and why sustainable development is framed as it does in the Swedish upper secondary school and in what way teachers interpret and recontextualize the content about sustainable development. The way in which students then understand the geographical dimension of sustainable development becomes a concluding theme in my dissertation.

Supervisor: Aina Tollefsen

Assistant supervisor: Madeleine Eriksson and Henrik Åström Elmersjö

Latest update: 2021-11-11