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Using Causal Diagrams to Foster Systems Thinking in Geography Education

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

To gain insight into complex sustainability problems andacknowledge complexity is essential and can be achievedby creating an overview of the entire system, includinginteraction between variables. Therefore, systems thinkingis recognized as a vital cognitive skill required to graspcomplex global problems. Nevertheless, the implementationof systems thinking into general education, and geographyin particular, is sadly limited. Encouraging students to useappropriate tools will probably help them understand systemscomplexity. A lesson series to foster systems thinkingin a Belgian high school geography course was developedand implemented. In this design, produced by researchers inconsultation with teachers, students were required to elaboratecausal diagrams based on original texts and graphs ofcomplex geographical issues. Causal diagrams are expectedto support the development of students’ systems thinkingability. The interpretation of the information sources from ageographical, and thus multidimensional perspective, is thecore of inquiry-based instruction aimed at fostering systemsthinking. By describing the gradual use of causal diagrams asa tool to visually represent given data, this article contributesan example of this scaffolding technique in geographyeducation. In addition to a description of the lesson seriesitself, we also discuss how decisions in the design processwere influenced by theoretical as well as practical aspectsof geography education in Flanders (Belgium). Furthermore,first reflections on the implementation are illustrated.
Tijdschrift: International Journal of Designs for Learning
ISSN: 2159-449X
Issue: 1
Volume: 9
Pagina's: 34 - 48
Aantal pagina's: 15
Jaar van publicatie:2018