#GeoEdChat 7 What is a Successful 21st Century Geographer?

There is a lot of talk and articles online about 21st Century Education and what this looks like in practice. There has also been big structural changes to Geography curriculums across many countries in recent years. Have the Geography teaching programs evolved with these changes so that we are creating successful 21st Century Geographers? Or are we still continuing to act like this:

Old School Geographer by Tom Morgan-Jones

Old School Geographer by Tom Morgan-Jones


As many of these curriculum changes come into place it has been my experience that many teachers are looking at how much of their old teaching programs they are able to keep and just tweaking small amounts to say they have made the necessary changes. If this is the case (and Yes I am sticking my neck out here purposely to provoke discussion), are we adequately meeting the future needs of our students?

What are the skills that a person would need to be considered a successful Geographer in these dynamic times and into the future? (are these different than 5/10/20 years ago?)

Does your teaching program allow students to engage in depth with future focused issues with multiple perspectives? Are you teaching these issues in a way that relates them to your life or your students lives?

I argue that we should be changing our teaching programs allow students time to inquire into geographical issues with an emphasis on what these issues mean for the future. This way they will be able to contribute to dialogue in the community about their future. As a subject we are uniquely placed to help students engage with issues such as fracking, sustainability, development and globalisation. This to me would help produce a successful 21st Century Geographer – a person that understands the various perspectives held on controversial global issues and can work out how to take action so the future consequences are in the best possible balance. Yet how much of your teaching program is spent on these? How much of the time on these issues allows students to actually engage with them in depth? Are they exploring various perspectives and projecting future implications or are they merely scratching the surface of these issues?

What do you think a successful 21st century geographer should be able to do? How does your teaching program allow them to flourish?


2 thoughts on “#GeoEdChat 7 What is a Successful 21st Century Geographer?

  1. Thanks for this interesting post Steve: I think you set up the question of what we might mean by a “21st century geographer” very well. Its an important issue in the light of current attempts to narrow ’21st century education’ to the skills and competences required to be ’employable’.

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