New standards for the school subject Geography?

German Geography Society lays out educational standards in the field of geography for the Mittlerer Schulabschluss

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What should students learn? What skills can you acquire? These are standardized nationwide by the so-called educational standards and implemented in the curricula of the countries but so far only for a few subjects. Now, for the first time, such a catalog of competences has been submitted for the school subject geography. But the official certification by the Conference of Ministers of Education seems questionable.

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"In order to ensure the quality of school education, the Conference of Ministers of Education (KMK) has introduced educational standards, " explains Eberhard Schallhorn from the Association of German School Geographers (VDSG). So far, however, such standards are only available for the main subjects of German, mathematics and the first foreign language for various school degrees, as well as for the "PISA" subjects biology, chemistry and physics for the Mittlerer Schulabschluss. "The KMK has decided not to develop standards for other subjects for the time being - this also applies to the subject geography, although a significant proportion of the PISA tasks have geoscientific content and thus the geography is a" PISA "subject, " summarizes Schallhorn the problem together.

Development on own initiative

In order to close this gap, the German Geographical Society (DGfG) submitted its own national educational standards in the field of geography for the Mittlerer Schulabschluss already in spring 2006. The standards were developed by a group of experts from the University Association for Geography and its Didactics (HGD) and the Association of German School Geographers (VDSG). Both associations are organized under the umbrella of the DGfG. Geography teachers, specialized didactics and specialists have participated.

Construction and accents

"The educational standards describe the contribution of geography to education, competence areas of geography and - in the third section - standards for the individual areas of expertise in geography, " explains Ingrid Hemmer from the University Association of Geography and their didactics. The standards refer to the six competence areas "Expertise", "Spatial Orientation", "Insight Recognition / Methods", "Communication", "Assessment / Evaluation" and "Action". The area of ​​expertise expertise is always structured by so-called basic concepts, with the examples of practice for specification now still in progress. display

"The basic concepts were discussed very intensively, " says Hemmer. "After all, the breakthrough came with the impulse to present the complex structure of the subject three-dimensionally." Thus, physical geography and human geography are explicitly equally weighted. In addition, great importance is attached to the interaction between man / society and nature. Of course, up-to-date scientific approaches are also considered in schools. "All in all, it underlines the function of our subject as a geoscientific centering subject", comments Hemmer with satisfaction on the agreed targets.

How it goes on…

As a result, the DGfG Education Standards in Geography for the Middle School Graduation "were presented to KMK President Ute Erdsiek-Rave with a request to adopt them as national KMK standards. At the same time, the proposals also received all 16 ministers of culture of the federal states. "Unfortunately, the request has not been met so far - but the KMK School Committee unanimously welcomed the geography standards, " says Schallhorn. Due to the high demand, the brochure published by the DGfG has already been published in the 2nd edition and in an English translation.

The standards already form an important nationwide basis for curriculum work. They are implemented through numerous training sessions and publications. At the same time, geographic didactic research primarily focused on the area of ​​"spatial orientation" in order to find scientifically proven ways of optimally developing competencies in the future.

The standard document is available on the Internet as a download in PDF format under Documents.

(Ingrid Hemmer (HGD), Eberhard Schallhorn (VDSG), 04.05.2007 - AHE)