Language Learning in Geography Education: Secondary Analysis of a Systematic Literature Review to Identify Further Blind Spots


  • Neli Heidari Faculty of Education, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • Markus Sebastian Feser Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education, Kiel, Germany
  • Nina Scholten Institute of Geography Education, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Münster, Germany
  • Knut Schwippert Faculty of Education, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • Sandra Sprenger Faculty of Education, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany


Language is essential for success in geography education. The use of academic and subject-specific language contributes to learning barriers, especially for students with heterogeneous linguistic proficiency and for second language learners. Thus, knowledge of the extent and variety of research on the role of language in geography education is of significance. To date, no systematic overview has been published of respective research fields in geography education as these relate to language at primary (ISCED I), lower secondary (ISCED II), and upper secondary (ISCED III) levels. In order to reveal and address potential blind spots in the research, this study provides a systematic review following the PRISMA scheme to indicate research foci, desiderata, and resulting potentials for future research in the field. The results of a secondary analysis of 38 peer-reviewed publications show diverse countries of origin. Studies in upper secondary schools and with samples including native-speaker students are largely represented, while primary education is barely represented. Research designs were evenly distributed with an emphasis on pre-post-design methods with quasi-experimental designs. Longitudinal studies were not reported.


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