Challenging the teaching of geographies of exclusion – the potential of geocapabilities for a transcultural approach in Australian and English schools

Niranjan Casinader, David Mitchell, Lauren Hammond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This expository paper critically examines the value of school geography in social debates that have a direct significance for the lives of young people. Migration is chosen as a focus, both because it is a defining feature of everyday life and the world we live in, and an area of research and debate in the discipline of geography. We draw on two national contexts, those of Australia and England, and illustrative examples from the authors’ research, to discuss how social change through migration is explored, expressed and represented in geography education by the national curriculum of each country. This occurs through two particular lenses, geocapabilities and transculturalism, which are presented as potential transformative strategies for ensuring that geographical teaching of such issues remains pertinent to the lives and futures of the young people in the classroom. In doing so, the paper seeks to critically consider the omnipresent socio-political agendas and landscapes of compulsory schooling in each nation that influence the construction of geography education, using the context of migration as a defining social dimension of contemporary global society. The paper concludes by arguing that geography teachers and educators should actively consider the use of a geocapabilities and/or transcultural lens when exploring complex social geographies such as migration. In doing so, it is contended that these dual concepts can support and empower young people in their academic and social navigation of the complexities of current society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-331
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • geocapabilities
  • geography education
  • migration
  • powerful geography
  • transculturalism

Cite this