The Attractiveness of geographical themes and topics for students: A systematic review
Geographical themes and topics are one of the factors that influence how geography is perceived by students, as a recent systematic review showed (Korvasova, 2021). The geographical content can be the key to the attractiveness of geography and raising its image between students and society. This paper aims to summarize knowledge because exploring the students’ perception brings a valuable opportunity to emphasize the students’ voice in teaching (Rogers, 2005). The students’ perspective can form arguments regarding geography’s place in school education and get more profound insights into curriculum innovations.
I conducted a systematic literature review (Petticrew & Roberts, 2008) to identify attractive geographical themes and topics and research methods utilized for determining them. I searched for the studies in the Web of Science and Scopus databases with selected keywords. Afterward, I set the three inclusion criteria: studies had to be written in English; they had to be published between 2000 to 2020, and the participating students had to be 11–19 years old. Twelve relevant studies were identified.
The results indicate that the whole spectrum of geographical themes and topics proved to be attractive. However, themes and topics of physical geography prevailed; the students mentioned natural hazards and catastrophes because they affect humans and their lives. The students also enjoyed themes and topics belonging to social geographies, such as political conflicts or economic crises, and learning about significant places. Topics and themes found uninteresting or unpopular seemed to be very diverse. Generally, very vaguely presented themes and topics or required abstract thinking were unattractive because they are not directly related to students' everyday lives. Due to the lack of studies, the attractiveness of geographical themes and topics represents a research gap that I would like to explore in the future.
Keywords: image|geographical themes|student|geographical topics|geography education