GeoCapabilities (Phase 1): A Framework for Understanding the Purposes and Values of Geography Education
GeoCapabilities (Phase 1) was a research project led by the Association of American Geographers (AAG) with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation's Geography and Spatial Science program (Award # BCS-1155255). Collaborating organizations included the Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education at Texas State University, the Institute of Education in London, the University of Helsinki, the European Association of Geographers (EUROGEO), and the Geographical Association.
The aim of GeoCapabilities was to construct a viable theoretical framework for a productive international dialogue on teacher education in geography. This framework draws heavily on the “capabilities approach” to education as inspired by the ideas of economist Amartya Sen and philosopher Martha Nussbaum. Capabilities are concepts which have been used as measures for human development and capacity (e.g., it inspired the Human Development Index which is a composite measure of income, education and life expectancy). In the context of geography education, the approach asks teachers, as curriculum leaders, to reflect on the role of geography in affording people with intellectual, moral, and existential capabilities for lifelong learning, economic and social agency in citizenship, and the pursuit of personal well-being.
David Lambert, Michael Solem and Sirpa Tani (2015). Achieving Human Potential Through Geography Education: A Capabilities Approach to Curriculum Making in Schools. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. DOI: 10.1080/00045608.2015.1022128
Michael Solem, David Lambert, Sirpa Tani (2013). Toward An International Framework for Researching the Purposes and Values of Geography Education. Review of International Geographical Education Online. 3 (3).
GeoCapabilities is now in a Phase 2. For current project activity, visit www.geocapabilities.org.
For more information about the GeoCapabilities project, please contact Dr. Michael Solem.