University of Oulu

Yli-Panula, E.; Jeronen, E.; Lemmetty, P. Teaching and Learning Methods in Geography Promoting Sustainability. Educ. Sci. 2020, 10, 5.

Teaching and learning methods in geography promoting sustainability

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Author: Yli-Panula, Eija1; Jeronen, Eila2; Lemmetty, Piia1
Organizations: 1Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku, 20014 Turku, Finland
2Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-02-18


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.

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Series: Education sciences
ISSN: 2227-7102
ISSN-E: 2227-7102
ISSN-L: 2227-7102
Volume: 10
Issue: 1
Article number: 5
DOI: 10.3390/educsci10010005
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Copyright information: © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (