Wicked Problems – Challenges and Opportunities for Geography Education
Sponsored by the Geography Education Specialty Group
Organizers: Roger Baars (Kyoto University) and Thomas Larsen (University of Northern Iowa)
The multitude of complex and overwhelming problems that the global community faces today requires swift and decisive action incorporating almost all dimensions of everyday life. Wicked problems refer to human-environment phenomena that feature high degrees of uncertainty and a lack of straightforward solutions. Wicked problems, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, resource depletion, social inequality, and unsustainable development, expose multiscale vulnerabilities that can undermine humanity’s path to a sustainable future. Education plays a significant role in tackling these challenges.
Challenges and opportunities exist for teaching wicked problems in geography. Bringing wicked problems to the center of the geography curriculum prompts greater emphasis on knowledge management, problem-solving skills, and critical dispositions in geography education. In this special session, we explore how geography teachers can take up the challenges emerging from wicked problems.
In this call for papers, we seek submissions at the interface between wicked problems and geography education. We welcome papers related but not limited to the following topics:
- Exploring how human-environment and spatial thinking can contribute toward teaching and learning about wicked problems
- Tracking how students develop more sophisticated understandings of wicked problems in geography
- Communicating issues of uncertainty, ambiguity, and temporality in geography courses
- Managing emotions (e.g., anxiety and hope) and affect in teaching wicked problems
- Examining moral and ethical aspects (e.g., environmental justice and racism) of teaching about wicked problems
- Integrating concepts of consensus, multi-stakeholder involvement, and context specificity in teaching geography
- Seeking to unify knowledge in a siloed education system
- Proposing new pedagogical approaches (e.g., problem-based, experiential, situational learning)
Please send your abstract (<250 words) to Roger Baars (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Thomas Larsen (email@example.com) by 15 October 2021. While both of us plan to attend the conference in person, we are happy to accept presentations delivered via zoom and make the session hybrid (or completely online if required). All accepted participants should: 1) register for the AAG meeting; 2) submit an abstract following the AAG guidelines (http://www.aag.org/aag2022nyc); and 3) send your PIN number to the organizers by 18 October 2021.