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Young peoples voices in Geography today: To what extent can they be heard in curriculum development? Lucy Morgan Teacher of Geography Downend School, South.

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Presentation on theme: "Young peoples voices in Geography today: To what extent can they be heard in curriculum development? Lucy Morgan Teacher of Geography Downend School, South."— Presentation transcript:

1 Young peoples voices in Geography today: To what extent can they be heard in curriculum development? Lucy Morgan Teacher of Geography Downend School, South Gloucestershire Dissertation submitted for MA in Education at the University of the West of England

2 Three Key Questions 1)Can accessing student perspective and promoting active participation in schools contribute to enhanced student engagement? 2)What role does enacting students as partners play in personalised learning? Should students participate in the co- construction of their learning environment, and act as research partners in examining questions of teaching and learning? 3)What are the challenges of a student led geography curriculum at KS3? Can young people see the relevance of and raise the profile of geography if they do not have a say in what they learn and how they learn it? Just how realistic is a bespoke curriculum? Aims of research: Context of study: Methodology: Results: Conclusions: Recommendations

3 Model of Curriculum Development (Gardner, 2006: 7) Four Key Aspects: 1)Student Voice- students experience should be as active agents in school enquiries rather than that of the traditional object of research (Rudduck 1995: 1). Students views can help mobilise staff and parent opinion in favour of constructivist learning, higher standards and meaningful reform. 2)Personalised learning- a more tailored and flexible curriculum is needed to challenge individual students to stretch and be motivated and begin to engage students as equals, as co- enquirers and co-contributors to curriculum development 3) Students as researchers- Young people should now enshrine a respect for their competency in taking part in each of the many stages of research from setting aims, choosing the methodology and analysis of results. Student led research can also be instrumental in improving class behaviour because students feel more significant and valued in the learning process 4) Student led curriculum- The teacher will often have an opinion of how the different parts of the curriculum are most efficiently communicated, and on the other hand, the students will have their own opinion of how they believe they will more easily absorb this particular knowledge Aims of research: Context of study: Methodology: Results: Conclusions: Recommendations

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5 The students could make the lesson, then the teacher could alter it to make sure we learn all the right skills for our GCSEs next year. Students should be respected for the quality of input they can give- dont underestimate us! I think student input is necessary on the whole. In years 7 to 9 why cant we learn about stuff were interested in, not what the government say or what teachers think were interested in. Theyre usually wrong….Just ask us! I think teachers should still decide on what we have to learn in order to develop, but equally I think students should be given some sort of choice. If students are able to contribute then its more likely that we will enjoy lessons and try harder…The students understood that they couldnt, and wouldnt want to do it all by themselves but that they would like to have input into their geography. Classrooms are boring blocks of colour…I wish student voice and choice was taken more seriously, we are always asked to fill in questionnaires but nothing actually happens with them….You forget how much is geography when youre stuck in a classroom and actually how relevant it is. We have to learn it so if we make and design it ourselves, we will be more interested. I think well try harder in lessons The students created 4 different lessons that were taught by Geography teachers in Term 1: -Yellowstone, super volcano -Music and culture around the world -Amazing endangered animals and habitats around the world -Glastonbury festival Student Led Lessons Evaluation: -The majority of students (62%) felt they were more engaged with learning because curriculum development was student led -Significantly, 54% of students put more effort into listening and completing work -59% of students would like to be involved in curriculum development. Aims of research: Context of study: Methodology: Results: Conclusions: Recommendations

6 1)Can accessing student perspective and promoting active participation in schools contribute to enhanced student engagement? - Student motivation is increased when given the opportunity to have a stronger sense of control over their learning. - Students want, and have the capability to be creative and play an active role in curriculum development. - Young people are rich resources for understanding processes and events, but are often untapped and therefore opinions should be taken more seriously, and become equal partners in the learning journey. - From a students perspective it was found that their involvement in curriculum making fostered learning capacity and engagement. 2)What role does enacting students as partners play in personalised learning? - Students felt teachers still controlled student voice too much and did not feel their views were empowering, democratic or transformative. - Student voice in this study was successful because it enabled students to be members of the learning community, signalled that they mattered and that they had something valuable to offer (Fielding, 2007a). - Students felt teachers were disconnected with the reality of students lives - Students can shed light on the process of learning, explain what helps them learn and identify barriers to effective learning in the classroom (Kane and Maw, 2005). 3)What are the challenges of a student led geography curriculum at Key Stage 3? - Students fostered a sense of ownership of their education and therefore the series of lessons created by students were welcomed by the overall majority and results suggest there was increased student engagement, listening, effort and motivation. - A completely student led curriculum is fraught with difficulties and considerations which would be unrealistic in a secondary school. This research highlights the need for rigorous, authentic and transformative participatory practice involving students in the co-construction of learning and teaching. A continual negotiation of practices (through topic choice and learning activities in particular) creating a dialogic learning community is desired. Aims of research: Context of study: Methodology: Results: Conclusions: Recommendations

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8 For further information please email me at mgn@downend.com Are we using pupils to serve the narrow ends of a grades-obsessed society rather than empowering them by offering them greater agency in their schools?

9 References Department for Education and Skills (DfES) (2006) Report of the teaching and learning in 2020 Review Group [online] http://publications.education.gov.uk/eOrderingDownload/6856-DfES-Teaching%20and%20Learning.pdf http://publications.education.gov.uk/eOrderingDownload/6856-DfES-Teaching%20and%20Learning.pdf (Accessed on 03/10/2010) Gardner, D. (2006) Geography Update:A QCA perspective on 3 – 19 geography [Online] http://www.yellowdocuments.com/14239032-qca-14-19-seminar-4-3-05 http://www.yellowdocuments.com/14239032-qca-14-19-seminar-4-3-05 Gersch, I. (1990) The pupils view in M. Scherer, I. Gersch, and L. Fry, (eds.) Meeting disruptive behaviour assessment, intervention and partnership Basingstoke: Macmillan Fielding, M. (2001a) Students as radical agents of change in Journal of Educational Change, 2, pp123- 141 Fielding, M. and Bragg, S. (2003) Students as Researchers: Making a difference. Cambridge: Pearson Publishing. Fielding, M. (2007a) Carving a new order of experience: a preliminary appreciation of the work of Jean Rudduck in the field of student voice in Educational Action Research, 15 (3) pp323-336 Hargreaves, D. (2004) Personalising learning: Next steps in working laterally [online] www.avonbourne.virtualschools.net/.../serveFile.cfm?...hargreaves_9_gateways.pdf www.avonbourne.virtualschools.net/.../serveFile.cfm?...hargreaves_9_gateways.pdf Kane, R., and Maw, N. (2005) Making sense of learning at secondary school: involving students to improve teaching practice in Cambridge Journal of Education, 35 (3) pp311-322 Leren, T.H. (2006) The importance of student voice in International Journal of Leadership in Education, 9 (4) pp363–367 Raymond, L. (2001) Student involvement in school improvement: from data source to significant voice in Forum, 43 (2) pp58-61 Rudduck, J., Chaplain, R, and Wallace, G. (1996) School Improvement: What Can Pupils Tell Us? London: David Fulton Publishers Rudduck, J. and Flutter, J. (2000) Pupil participation and pupil perspective: carving a new order of experience in Cambridge Journal of Education, 30 (1) p75-89 Thomson, P. and Gunter, H. (2006) From consulting pupils to pupils as researchers: a situated case narrative in British Educational Research Journal, 32 (6) pp839-856


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