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   Course Title    Geographical and Environmental Education
Lecturer    Yembuu Batchuluun
Institution    State Pedagogical University of Mongolia
Country    Mongolia


Geography plays a leading role in developing the objectives of environmental education. Through geography lessons pupils must learn about the major environmental and developmental problems (e.g. climatic change, deforestation, land degradation and desertification, depletion of natural resources, loss biodiversity, overpopulation, food security, drought, poverty, and urban decay) through issue-based learning.

They must be given opportunities to explore how these issues relate to their everyday lives and how they impact on the quality of the physical and social environment. Teachers must promote a holistic outlook, through promoting a multidimensional (e.g. social, political, historical, cultural, aesthetic) study of environment problems on a variety of scales. Environmental education enables students to understand how people modify, respond to, and conserve their environment.

Environmental education is a totally new discipline in Mongolia. In the primary school grades (1-4) geography is studied under an Environmental Studies umbrella and from the grades 6 to 10 geography is a compulsory subject of study. However, environmental education through geography is somewhat difficult for geography teachers.



The basic aim of teaching geography should be to explain the environment of the pupil to him/her. In this case, the aim of the course is to apply the theory and methodology of Geographical Education to the students, who are going to be Geography teachers and give them an understanding of Environmental Education through Geographical lessons for pupils.



  • To acquire the knowledge and skills needed to teach geography with the comprehension and ability to express ideas relating to the environment
  • To develop an understanding of the role of the environmental issues within geography
  • To promote needed basic knowledge of environmental education to students
  • To provide students with opportunities to understand major global environmental problems
  • To develop students’ teaching and learning methods about the environment within a geographical framework



This is one of the basic courses of the Geography Department at the State Pedagogical University in Mongolia. This course is taught to students who are going to become geography teachers at secondary schools. Before taking this course students will have obtained knowledge, skills and the background of geography and ecology. Based on this course students will acquire the understanding and features of teaching and learning geography with environmental approaches.



There are two main forms of learning in this course: lectures and seminars with a student-centered approach.



Chapter 1. Background of Geographical and Environmental Education

Topic 1.1. The aims and objectives of school geography and environmental education

The difference between "aims" and "objectives". General and educational aims of teaching geography. The value of Geography in general education. The place and role of environmental education in geography. Classifications of educational objectives.

Topic 1.2. Basic principles of teaching geography

Basic principles of teaching geography. Holistic education and subject integration. Basic knowledge, understanding and skills of geographical and environmental education.

Knowledge of location and relative positions, sizes, populations and resources of countries and continents of the world.

Topic 1.3. History of Geographical and Environmental Education in Mongolia

Geographical and Environmental Education in Mongolia. Renovations and reforms in geography education and notions of environmental education.

Topic 1.4. Geographical and Environmental Education abroad

Geographical and Environmental Education in the developed and developing countries. Differences in concepts about environmental problems between western and former socialist countries.

Topic 1.5. Fundamental geographic concepts and the environment

The acquisition of five fundamental geographic concepts of location, pattern, spatial interaction, human interaction with the environment and region.

Main documents to teaching Geographical and Environmental Education: International Chart of Geographical Education and International Declaration on Geographical Education for Cultural Diversity. Agenda 21.

Chapter 2. The Pedagogical and Psychological aspects of Geographical and Environmental Education

Topic 2.1. Psychological aspects of Geographical and Environmental Education

Learning and training psychology, Vigotcki and Piaget’s theories of development.

Topic 2.2. Perceptions and view of geography

Differences in the perception and geography viewpoints.

Topic 2.3. Geography notions and their classifications

Geography notions their classifications (M.Naish, Gagne, A.Darincki, T.Gerasimova), induction and deduction. Abstract and distinct notions. Spatial notions and steps of development. Concepts of Birkenhauer, W.Rhys, S.Catling and Stueckrath.

Topic 2.4. Spatial interpretive and map

Mental map and its characteristics. Developing children’s mental map. Concepts of Boardman, Folkman and Hake.

Topic 2.5. Principles and approaches of school geography

Country-studies, general and regional geography and theme-region approaches, social and exemplary principles. Differences and main points of those approaches and examples in Mongolian geography and environmental education.

Topic 2.6. Geographic Skills and perspectives

Developing of cognitive and affective skills and geographic skills. Acquiring, organizing, analyzing geographic information. Asking and answering geographic questions.

Spatial and ecological perspectives, historical and economic perspectives.

Topic 2.7. Scientific aspects of Geographical and Environmental Education

Environmental related issues within Physical and Human Geography, environmental geography, human ecology. Natural and social relationship in geography and environmental study.

Chapter 3. Forms of organization of the teaching of geography

Topic 3.1. Types and forms of the Geography lessons.

The geography lesson and its position in the learning process. Requirements of the lessons. Teaching and learning approaches, student- centered and teaching-centered lessons.

Related notions of environmental education in the geography lesson. Types and forms of the lesson.

Topic 3.2. Geography curriculum and standards of geography

Geography Curriculum and syllabus development. Reforms in geography and environmental education. Standards of geography and revised standards.

Topic 3.3. Methods and organization of the lesson

Traditional and new methods of lesson, lectures, discussion, using computers, case studies, brainstorming, INSERT, RAFT, KWL etc. Approaches to environmental education (child centered, concentric and block timetabling approaches)

Topic 3.4. Planning the lessons.

Planning with objectives. Aims and objectives, content or subject matter, methods, resources and evaluation. A planning model, linear planning model and interactive lesson planning model. Planning a unit of study. Learning episodes and lesson plans.

Topic 3.5 Relationship between geography and other subjects

Environmental education in the essential learning areas: Geography, biology, physics, chemistry, history and language. The language of the environment.

Chapter 4. Teaching aids, materials and equipment

Topic 4.1. Teaching and learning materials

Teaching and learning materials in geography, their role and significance to the lesson. Types of aids.

Topic 4.2. Learning environments

The geography classroom. Teaching aids in the geography classroom.

Environments outside the classroom, the importance of outdoor environments and using the school grounds for environmental education.

Topic 4.3. Using audio-visual aids

Audio aids and visual aids in teaching geography and environment. Movie projectors and videos, overhead projector. Preparing transparencies and displays for OHP. Slides and filmstrips for environmental studies.

Topic 4.4. Teaching and Learning with maps

Developing children’s map skills. Map drawing and using, reading maps.

Aerial photograph or satellite images (natural and handmade materials). Sketch-maps and regional studies. Motivating pupils to use and learn about maps.

Topic 4.5. Learning with atlases and globes

The purpose of a school atlas. Using atlases and globes in the lesson. Reading atlas maps and atlas map skills, gathering the information from atlases. Types of school atlases and globes.

Topic 4.6. Using statistics

Using statistics and making graphs, compiling diagrams and mapping. Three-dimensional drawings.

Topic 4.7. Using and preparing models

To make model environments using a variety of ‘environmental’ toys (such as road pieces and animals) for teaching. Making models for teaching and collections.

Topic 4.8. Teaching and learning through fieldwork

Fieldwork and outdoor activities in school. The purpose, methods and value of fieldwork. Aims of fieldwork in the context both of geographical education and environmental education. Fieldwork locations and the field environment. Role and value of local environments for field study. Approaches of fieldwork (expedition approach and enquiry-based approach). Planning fieldwork and tasks. Fieldwork and Information technology (IT), such as GPS (Global Positioning System). Measurement of environmental factors (river pH, soil temperature etc).

Topic 4.9. Practical work, experiments and environment study

Practical work and its didactic principles. Practical work in the classroom and in the environment.

Topic 4.10. Using information technology and new technologies in geography

Using IT equipment and software, and secondary sources e.g. CD-ROM encyclopedia, to obtain geographical information. Collecting information and interpreting, analyzing and displaying information. New technologies in geography: Remote sensing and Geographical Information Systems (GIS), two main types of GIS.

Topic 4.11. Geography textbook and environmental education

Geography textbooks and environmental related issues in the textbooks. Work with pictures, maps, case-studies and facts and activities in the textbook. Teacher’s guide and workbook for pupils.

Chapter 5. Assessment and evaluation

Topic 5.1. Evaluation of geographical and environmental education

Difference between assessment and evaluation. Kinds of evaluation, qualitative and quantitative evaluation. Curriculum evaluation and evaluation of pupil progress.

Topic 5.2. Assessment of geographical and environmental education

Forms of assessment, Pupil-centered assessment and assessment techniques. Methods of assessment. Tests and examinations, objective and non-objective tests.

Chapter 6. Research and investigation in Geographical and EE

Topic 6.1. Textbook Research in Geographical and EE

Textbook analysis research. International and domestic textbook comparisons.

Textual analysis, analysis of visual resources and analysis of maps and diagrams in textbooks

Topic 6.2. An international perspective on research in geographical education.

An international perspective on research in geographical education. Sources for information on research in GE and research approaches.

Topic 6.3. Research in curriculum of GE and EE.

Researching children’s understanding and map skills etc.

Topic 6.4. Applying research for teaching geography

Applying research to teach the materials for children. Studies on student achievement.

Chapter 7. Content and applications

Topic 7.1. Geography and health education

Study of health and its relationship to geographical teaching. Relationships between health and other aspects of human activity. Acquiring and mapping of many kinds of health-related information.

Topic 7.2. Geography and the development of environmental understanding

Discussion about environmental issues from large scale maps observing and recording out-of-doors. Observations of environmental quality.

Topic 7.3. Geography and education for economic and industrial understanding

Results of population increases, land cultivation. Developing environmental impact studies and environmental quality studies and their roles for broadening young people’s understanding of economic and industrial matters.



A. Mandatory

Agenda21. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992

Boardman, D. (ed) (1988) Handbook for geography teachers. The Geographical Association.

Daniella Tilbury and Michael Williams (eds) (1997) Teaching and Learning Geography, Routledge London.

Goodall,S. (ed) (1994) Developing Environmental Education in the Curriculum.David Fulton.

International Research Geographical and Environmental Education, Commission on Geography Education of IGU journal.

Joy Palmer and Philip Neal (1994) The handbook of Environmental Education.

Routledge publishing. P. 67-93

John Huckle & Stephen Sterling (eds) (1996) Education for Sustainability. P.18-37

Joy Palmer. Environmental Education in the 21st century. Theory, practice, progress and promise. P. 23-27.

Michael Williams (ed) (1996) Understanding Geographical and Environmental Education. Cassell Education.

Patrica J.Thompson (eds) (1997) Environmental Education for the 21st Century. International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Peter Long Publishing. P.23-31

Patrick Bailey and Peter Fox (eds) (1996) Geography teacher’s Handbook.

B. Recommended

Andrew Goudie (2000) The Human impact on the natural Environment

Cris Park (2000) The environment principles and applications

International Declaration on Geographical Education for Cultural Diversity (2000) CGE, IGU. Seoul, Korea.

Michael Allaby (1988) Macmillan dictionary of the Environment. 3rd edition. Macmillan Reference Books.

Lucas, R (1993) ‘I.T. and fieldwork Teaching Geography 18 (1): 38-9

William Marsh (2000) Environmental Geography. Science, land use, and Earth systems

* Many books in Mongolian and in Russian, which we used, are not included.

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