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Students' and teachers' preconceptions


In our working group, everyday perceptions of students on human geography classroom topics are surveyed in order to identify typical notions of classroom subjects with which they should participate in class and which should be linked to them. In addition, we also identify the learners' perceptions that represent obstacles to learning.

The subjective theories of teachers, their subject-related interests, worldviews and ideas about the character of geography are also in the focus of our interest, as these can have an influence on the actions of teachers and their focus in class.



Innovations in geography teaching


Project participants: Maxim Krohmer, Alexandra Budke

Period: Start April 2017

Today's society would be unthinkable without innovations. Geography lessons also have the potential to bring innovative approaches, for example in the form of methods and content, into the classroom. So far, however, there is little knowledge about how teachers of geography understand the concept of innovation. In the first study of the dissertation project, this understanding was determined and patterns of understanding and evaluation were identified that lead to certain intentions to act with innovations. The second part of the project deals with routines in geography lessons. Teachers develop their professional competence throughout their professional career and thus routines. The study aims to record what routines in geography lessons look like. The final part of the project will bring together the topics of previous studies by examining how routines in geography teaching can be broken down. Overall, the project contributes to the understanding of the professional development of geography teaching.


Krohmer, Maxim und Budke, Alexandra (2018): Understanding and assessment of innovations by geography teachers in North Rhine Westphalia: A german case study. In: RIGEO (8) No. 3, p. 415-439.



Completed projects



Borders and boundaries in geography education



Project participants: Sebastian Seidel, Alexandra Budke

Period: 2016 - 2020

Spatial borders are a very complex social and geographical phenomenon. Geography lessons occupy a key position in their thematization and can therefore make a significant contribution to the political education of students by not describing these spatial-political boundaries as natural phenomena, but instead by highlighting how they are constructed communicatively and socially and what consequences these spatial and boundary constructions have on different levels of scale and for different individuals and groups. Within the framework of Sebastian Seidel's dissertation project, three studies were carried out against the background of the overarching research question: "How can the current state of research in political geography be conceptualized and further developed in terms of geography didactics in order to deal with spatial borders, so that it can be used for geography lessons?


Seidel, S., Bettinger, P. & Budke, A. (2020). Representations and Concepts of Borders in Digital Strategy Games and Their Potential for Political Education in Geography Teaching. In: Education Sciences. 2020; 10(1):10. (Link)*

Seidel, S. & Budke, A. (2019). "A border is a ban" - Students' Conceputal Understanding and Experiences of Europe's Borders and Boundaries. In: Review of International Geographical Education Online, Vol. 9(1), 82-101 (Link)*

Morawski, M. & Seidel, S. (2019). Wem gehört Kaschmir? - Raumansprüche durch reflektierte Kartenproduktion dekonstruieren. In: Praxis Geographie, H.1/2019, 42-47 (Link)

Seidel, S. & Budke, A. (2018). „Naja, da war ein Schild an der Autobahn– SchülerInnenvorstellungen von räumlichen Grenzen am Beispiel Europas. In: Budke, A. & M. Kuckuck (Hg.): Migration und geographische Bildung. Franz Steiner Verlag: Stuttgart. 173-187. (Link)

Seidel, S. & Budke, A. (2017). Keine Räume ohne Grenzen - Typen von Raumgrenzen für den Geographieunterricht. In: zdg - zeitschrift der didaktik der gesellschaftswissenschaften, H.2 - 2017, 41-59 (Link)*

Change in geography lessons


Project participants: Kristina Rubarth, Alexandra Budke

Time period: 2014 - 2019

How and why do spatial structures change? The question of change permeates all geographical subject areas such as demographic change, climate change and structural change which represent both the essential contents of geography as well as geography lessons. However, change is not only a relevant topic, but also a meta-concept for understanding the spatial contexts. In Kristina Schulz's (now Kristina Rubarth) dissertation project, comparative considerations of space-related change are made between positions in the theory of science and pupils' ideas of everyday life.


Inclusion in geography lessons


Project participants: Stephan Langer, Alexandra Budke

Comparative educational studies (PISA, IGLU, etc.) and quality tests at schools show the high need for development of all subjects in the area of individual support. The educational policy goal of expanding the joint teaching of pupils with and without special needs at all school types (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on Inclusion) requires all specialist teachers to be made more aware of the heterogeneity of their learning groups. In his dissertation project "On the road to inclusion in geography lessons? - Heterogeneity of pupils in patterns of perception and action of geography teachers", Stephan Langer examined the perception of heterogeneity influenced by subjective theories and the resulting teaching actions of geography teachers. In terms of a mixed-method research design, both qualitative and quantitative methods of empirical teaching research are applied in the context of surveys and classroom observations.


Langer, Stephan (2018). Heterogenität im Geographieunterricht. Handlungs- und Wahrnehmungsmuster von GeographielehrerInnen in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Dissertation, Universität zu Köln.

Langer, Stephan, Budke, Alexandra und Ziemen, Kerstin (2018): Migrationsbedingte Heterogenität von SchülerInnen als Herausforderung für den inklusiven Geographieunterricht. - In: Budke, Alexandra und Kuckuck, Miriam (2018, Hrsg.): Migration und Geographische Bildung. Stuttgart. S. 189-207


Geography teachers try out Service Learning


Project participants: Nils Thönnessen, Alexandra Budke

Period: completed 2016

Service Learning represents an innovative, promising conceptual approach to modern geography teaching that is oriented towards educational standards. The work deals with the previous, restrained use of this concept and focuses on developing acceptance components from first-time service learning projects of geography teachers, which are finally linked to a successful structure.


Thönnessen, Nils (2016). GeographielehrerInnen erproben Service Learning. Empirische Rekonstruktion von Bewertungsmustern, Akzeptanzkomponenten und Gelingensbedingungen für einen gemeinwohlorientierten Geographieunterricht. Dissertation, Universität zu Köln.



Didactic reconstruction of the topic of illegal migration


Project participants: Andreas Hoogen, Alexandra Budke

Period: completed 2015

Pupils are constantly confronted with images of people trying to cross borders illegally in boats, as well as with corresponding opinions, moods and stereotypes. In this research project, the research framework of didactic reconstruction was used to explore the question of what ideas about illegal migration students bring to class and how this class must be structured if it is to be linked to the learning conditions.


Budke, Alexandra und Hoogen, Andreas (2017): Migration durch das "Nadelöhr" - wie visuelle Darstellungen von Grenzüberschreitungen in Geographieschulbüchern die Schülervorstellungen von „illegaler“ Migration beeinflussen. In: Jahnke, Holger, Schlottmann, Antje, Dickel, Mirka und (Hrsg.): Räume visualisieren. Geographiedidaktische Forschungen Bd. 62. Münster. S. 3-17.

Budke, Alexandra und Hoogen, Andreas (2017): „Das Boot ist voll“ - Wie Bilder in Geographieschulbüchern Vorstellungen von „illegalen“ Migrantinnen und Migranten produzieren: In: Christoph Rass und Melanie Ulz (Hrsg.): Migration ein Bild geben. Visuelle Aushandlungen von Diversität. Wiesbaden: Springer. S. 129-160.

Hoogen, Andreas (2015): Didaktische Rekonstruktion des Themas Illegale Migration Argumentationsanalytische Untersuchung von Schüler*innenvorstellungen im Fach Geographie. Dissertation, Universität zu Köln.