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[some] Differences Geography Makes Simon Catling Professor of Primary Education Oxford Brookes University Geographical Association Annual Conference Geographies.

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Presentation on theme: "[some] Differences Geography Makes Simon Catling Professor of Primary Education Oxford Brookes University Geographical Association Annual Conference Geographies."— Presentation transcript:

1 [some] Differences Geography Makes Simon Catling Professor of Primary Education Oxford Brookes University Geographical Association Annual Conference Geographies of Difference Manchester University Saturday April 14 th, 2012

2 Difference is important in, for and on geography & learning For place, space and environment, its meanings include: Difference as discerning, naming and categorising: seeking patterns and giving identity. Difference by othering: separating, distinguishing, foreign. Difference as change, which places and environments do over time: enlarging, upgrading, declining – and disparities. Difference as widening perspectives, growing, as in learning about and through geography. Difference as recognising diversity in and cross the World. Difference in practices: in human experiences; resource access, use and impact; inequalities; power and control. At times we seem to see difference as a negative: a problem, inappropriate; But we can appreciate difference as a positive value: vital, enhancing and enabling.

3 Difference in primary geography curriculum requirements In KS1: study another locality to their own area which has physical and/or human features that contrast. In KS2: study a locality in a country that is less economically developed. The current Geography programmes of study: encourage understanding of places through comparison of other places in and beyond the UK with ones own. engage with similarities between features, places, contexts and lives: what we have in common, shared experiences. encourage the noting of differences: contrasting ones own and (an)other place(s), different points of view, that others lives and places are different to/from us. foster, implicitly rather than explicitly, a sensing of commonality and diversity.

4 Younger Childrens perspectives Our experience of working with younger children, and from research, indicates that children: develop their awareness and knowledge of their own and other peoples, places and countries during their younger (0 – 11 years) childhood. notice and pick up on difference often before recognising what is shared. develop beliefs, feelings and prejudices about various national groups, but privilege their own country above others. view others (people, nations) emotionally, often before anything is known of them, which possibly influences their knowledge acquisition. are open to appreciating other peoples lives and experiences, needs and interests held in common with their own, if and as encouraged. recognise variations and diversity, as well as noting similarities and commonalities. Key influences on childrens sense of difference (and similarity) include: information gained and images viewed through the mass media. what is taught in school. parental and family attitudes and experiences, including holidays.

5 A different way to the world Ofsted, among others, note that many primary children need to develop their place and environmental knowledge and understanding, nationally and internationally. Topic: Consider the great Pacific Ocean gyro. KS1: explore the progress of the rubber ducks, which journey the world having come from a container lost overboard in the west Pacific in 1992! KS2: investigate the supposed giant rubbish patch in the north Pacific Ocean. Is it a rubbish island? What is its affect on the oceanic ecology? What are ocean gyros? Where are they? How do they work? What can we learn about the 70%?

6 Valuing or othering china? Why not a different place? Should we study China in primary geography? Chinas global impact affects our lives, our childrens and will theirs. China is rarely a topic in primary geography. Why not? Many children are aware of China through the media and goods. It is culturally diverse, is a World power economically, is developing and urbanising rapidly, has social and manufacturing qualities and issues, has amazing environments and environmental challenges and concerns. But what do younger children know of China? What are their images? We know little of their feelings for or knowledge about China. Where are the quality resources for primary children? Topic: Investigate China in primary geography through localities and lives, through national contexts and images, and through different places, scales, environments, change, sustainability, impact and futures. We can access more now than ever before.

7 Differences personal geographies make Childrens geographies are personal, not general, so, different and differentiated. They support their identities and support social awareness. Topic: Classes contain a variety of geographies, so involve children in making personal contributions, through their geographical knowledge and experience. Investigate the variations between childrens and adults geographies: Wheres special? Where matters? Wheres necessary? Where taken? Outdoor Deficit Disorder: how often do children get out? Alone, with peers, with adults? Where to go? What to do? Why there? Why has this changed over generations? [What of urban deficit disorder?] Childrens experiences of the school and local area vary: from those who have always lived locally: how do they see it? to those who have moved to this familiar place: their view? to those who have migrated to unfamiliarity, for whom there is real difference: learning how to be and act in a new place, life, school. Topic: Explore the gendered and ageist geographies of school playgrounds. Geography should include local foci which develop childrens insights into their own places, experiences and lives, and which consider inequalities.

8 Investigate the Different geographies in/of places There is no single geography of a place. Geographies are multiple: social, economic, historical….peopled variously…. Geography explores the different geographies of places, identifying the different actors who affect an area. Topic: Investigate the geography of a locality through different eyes: What a place means to and how it is used by the various people who live there. Who are the less frequent users, such as weekly shoppers or friends: why there? What are their views of the place? What else should it have? How do the passing visitors, as tourists, see it? Why have they stopped off, or visited? Is it as they expected, and how similar or different? Imagine coming new to the area: What will be others geographies of us – being seen through different eyes – create a leaflet to inform a new family about here. Topic: Explore how the World is here in our place: goods to internet…. How has this made our place different? What are the changes? Why? Topic: Examine how places change over time, how they become different. Where has remained similar, where is different? How is it a different settlement to earlier times? How will it develop in the future?

9 Opportunities to make a difference Primary geography should not simply be about recognising and appreciating differences. It should engage with making a difference. How do you make a difference? Should you be critically aware of support and/or participation? Topic: Recognising how you can engage locally. Participation in the local community through projects: clearing up, making attractive, looking after, adding facilities…. Investigating collective impacts as a purchaser/user: Which shops and other services? Why those? With what effect? Should fair trade goods be encouraged locally? How are mobile phones creating changes and differences? What should the empty shop be used for? A service? Commercially? Topic: Investigating the benefits and limitations of giving to appeals. How are appeals made? Who for? Where are they? Why for them? How are funds used? How do, or might, funds have an impact? Geography? Should we support Children in Need to affecting lives and places?

10 Differences in opportunities through schools geographies School geographies are not all the same: they are different. The spatial patterns of KS2 test results affect how school catchment areas are perceived differently, identifying apparent and real inequalities between schools and for children. For some parents this difference matters and influences where they (can) choose to live. School catchments vary in size and shape, in population, in relation to children qualifying for free school meals and children privately educated, and access to facilities. What will be the impact on local school geographies of primary free schools? Primary schools vary in the quality of geography teaching. Ofsted reports that about 10% of primaries teach negligible or no geography. Confidence in teaching geography among primary teachers stands at c.50%. A small but increasing number of schools have made a difference and gained the GAs Primary Geography Quality Mark. Would you choose to live in the catchment of good or poor geography teaching primary school? Primary schools can make a difference by aiming for the Primary Geography Quality Mark, making a difference by aiming high in childrens learning.

11 Difference through geographical learning Geographical learning can have dramatic benefits: On Boxing Day 2004 one 10-year-old girl saved her family from the Indian Ocean tsunami because she recognised the retreat of the water along the beach, from her geography topic that autumn! was coming. The case is that geographical education can make a difference by helping children extend their learning, widening their horizons through: learning about places and environments, their nature and issues, whether locally, about major nations or about natural processes. understanding their own place and geographies more clearly. learning about other lives and cultures, as well as their own. fostering increased understanding of topical matters, eg climate change encouraging children to be more thoughtful users of places involving children in improved care for places children becoming better informed about the World, what is and happens where, why and with what effect.

12 Difference as diversity Differences provide us with diversity, which matters to us. Differences are in our locality as much as in the wider World. Difference needs to be challenged where it means variable quality, so that high quality is the aim and achievement. Difference must be retained though varieties of approach to curriculum, teaching and learning, such as in the ways good and outstanding geography is planned, taught and learned. The variety in the World which difference brings is to be noticed, appreciated, engaged with and celebrated. Difference enriches lives, through culture, places, provision, activities, choices and much more. Difference matters. Difference provides vitality. Difference is to be shared and valued. Enjoy difference, for we all are different!

13 Some selected readings - 1 Barrett, M. (2007) Childrens knowledge, beliefs and feelings about nations and national groups. Hove: Psychology Press. Dorling, D. (2010) Injustice: Why social inequality persists. Bristol: Policy Press. Dorling, D. (2011) So You Think You Know About Britain? London: Constable. Geographical Association (2009) A Different View: A manifesto from the Geographical Association. Sheffield: Geographical Association. Geographical Association (n.d.) The Primary Geography Quality Mark (PGQM). [Accessed ] Gregory, D., Johnston, R., Pratt, G., Watts, M. & Whatmore, S. (eds.) (2009, 5 th ed.) The Dictionary of Human Geography. Oxford: Blackwell. Hohn, D. (2012) Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea. Union Books Liu, P. (2008) What do K-3 Children Know and Want to Know about China? Martin, D. & Atkinson, P. (2001) Investigating the Spatial Linkage of Primary School Performance and Catchment Characteristics. Geographical and Environmental Modelling, 5, 1, McLeay, C. & Chalmers, L. (2011) teaching and learning about difference: the geographies of the Other. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 20, 4, ODDIZZI (2011) Resources key to teaching geography says report. [Accessed ] …and more >>>

14 Some selected readings - 2 Ofsted (2011) Geography: Learning to make a world of difference. [Accessed ] Pleace, N., Rhodes, D. & Quilgars, D. (2012) Understanding and tackling child poverty of Peabody estates. London: Peabody Trust. and-tacking-poverty-on-peabody-estates. [Accessed ] and-tacking-poverty-on-peabody-estates Redman, J. & Roberts, L.H. (2004) The World Came To My Place Today. Eden Project Books. Schmeinck, D., Knecht, P., Kosack, W., Lambrinos, N., Museumeci, M. & Gatt, S. (2010) Through the Eyes of Children: The implementation of a European Dimension by Peer Learning in Primary Schools. Berlin: mbvberlin. Scoffham, S. (ed.) (2010, revised) Primary Geography Handbook. Sheffield: Geographical Association. Smith, D. & Armstrong, S. (2004) If the World were a Village. London: Bloomsbury. Wikipedia (n.d.) Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Wikipedia (n.d.) Friendly Floatees.

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