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Systems thinking in geography: can high school students do it?
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
An increasing interconnectedness of people and goods enhances the complexity of many geographical problems. For students to understand geography, systems thinking is a promising approach. It helps to understand increasing complexity by looking at the entire system and at the interconnectedness between the elements in the system. In order to develop adequate systems oriented teaching and learning the current state of the art of students’ systems thinking ability needs to be better understood. The authors developed a measuring tool in the form of a paper-and-pencil test in which 735 students in the last or penultimate year of secondary school (age 16–18 year) in Flanders, Belgium, took part. The main findings reveal a rather poor general level of students’ systems thinking ability. Students have many difficulties recognizing relationships between variables when several elements of systems thinking come together such as in feedback loops, interactions between human and physical environment, and a combination of different information sources. Rather great differences were found according to the students’ study background as well as an interaction effect between grade and gender of the students.
Journal: International Research in Geographical & Environmental Education
Pages: 37 - 52
Number of pages: 16