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Rediscovering Geography David Lambert The Geographical Association.

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1 Rediscovering Geography David Lambert The Geographical Association

2 The trouble with geography Marginal position in education policy – core curriculum, testing, league tables – generic teaching support (the strategies) Bad press – teaching quality and student attainment – negative image Its education potential is not well understood

3 The potential of geography What, where, why there and why care [Gritzner 2002 p38] Informed citizenship (emphasising some big concepts such as interdependence) Critical understanding of sustainable development (linking the social, the economic and the environmental)

4 The power of geography (1) The physical world: land, water, air and ecological systems and the processes that bring about change in them. Can involve spiritual dimensions. The human environments: societies, cities and communities and the human processes involved in understanding work, home, consumption and leisure. Involves political, moral and ethical dimensions. Interdependence: spatial manifestations of interaction such as trade, migration, climate change: involves, crucially, linking the physical and human and the emerging concept of sustainable development

5 The power of geography (2). Place and space: the vocabulary and the syntax of the world, developing knowledge and understanding of location and interconnectedness. Scale: the lens through which the subject matter is seen. Emphasises the significance of local, regional, national, international and global perspectives. Pupils lives: using pupils images, experiences, meanings and questions can introduce an explicit futures orientation into lessons and reach out to pupils as active agents in their learning.

6 The use of geography Geographers are knowledgeable (including about what they do not know!). They also like connected knowledge They can work together - listening, responding and communicating effectively; They are literate (can write a report) numerate (can understand statistics) and happy using or processing information (computers). Geography also develops the fourth ace in the pack: GRAPHICACY, which lies at the heart of Geographical Information Science (GIS)

7 Key questions about geography What is geography – thinking geographically? How does geography help us make sense of the world? How does geography help prepare the informed citizen?

8 Key questions for teachers of geography (1) What is geography for? How can we make its educational contribution better understood?

9 Key questions for teachers of geography (2) In what ways can geography be taught carelessly? What would characterise school geography that was taught carefully?

10 Teaching geography in a careless climate As if education were an answer culture based on the authorised knowledge As if there were no right or wrong answers its your opinion that matters everybodys views are of equal worth As if the pedagogic adventure were all that mattered As if education were only concerned with developing skills

11 Teaching geography carefully Appreciating the significance of big concepts, helping us to engage critically with the real world Medium term planning – with big concepts Nurturing a culture of argument - education for conversation (or respectful negotiation) Promoting an attitude of confident uncertainty towards knowledge development

12 Some big concepts in geography Interdependence Place (and space) Diversity Scale Sustainable Development

13 Strength through Association Re-assert the mission (1) as a community of practice – Journals, newsletters, website, books and materials, conferences, consultations, lobbying, awards, Worldwise – Drawing from the authority of its membership and primarily serving its members (dissemination)

14 Strength through Association Re-assert the mission (2) in a learning society – Independent critical voice, local (funded) projects, certificated professional development opportunities – 0riented to knowledge creation and oriented by a strong sense of purpose – that is, school based curriculum development

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