Values in geographic education: The challenge of attending to learners' perspectives

  • Hopwood N
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Geography as a school subject is highly infused with values and controversial issues. Much attention has been paid to the role of the (geography) teacher in dealing with values education, but the contin- ued lack of pupil-focused empirical work hampers conceptual, practical and policy development. Drawing on evidence from pupil-focused research, it is argued that greater attention must be paid to three issues: (i) pupils may interpret classroom experiences in relation to unannounced or hidden values and controversies; (ii) pupils may position or locate themselves in relation to controversial issues in a variety of ways; and (iii) as a result, pupils’ engagement with values in the geography classroom may be highly individualised and complex, reflecting (i) and (ii) in combination. The challenge is to attend to learners’ perspectives, and these three issues are presented as possible start- ing points for future research agendas.

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