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Young peoples geographies Roger Firth Mary Biddulph.

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1 Young peoples geographies Roger Firth Mary Biddulph

2 Aims establish conversations between school students, professional/academic geographers, geography teachers and geography teacher educators that will inform a dynamic process of curriculum construction ('curriculum making') in schools explore ways in which geography teachers and students can use the lived geographies of young people to inform the process of curriculum making/construction in school geography develop pedagogies through which young people can use their lived experiences to develop their geographical understanding

3 A brief recap… Collaboration Conversation Participation Curriculum


5 Why do it…. A growing realisation that until recently geography had largely ignored the social, spatial and environmental aspects of the lives, needs and desires of young people who form a significant section of society, who are active social agents in their own right and who may experience the world in very different ways. Are these neglected geographies in the school curriculum?

6 The big question…… The project provided the opportunity for school students and their geography teachers to work alongside academic geographers. However we have to ask ourselves: Should young peoples geographies contribute to the school curriculum? What are some of the ethical and professional issues for educators?

7 Some of the projects.. Market square in Nottingham Perceptions of Bedford Darfour Climate change in Norfolk What if…….


9 Levels of student involvement 1. Students responsible for planning lessons and teaching other (younger) students on a topic they felt was related to their geographies. While this involved dramatic shifts in ownership and pedagogic processes, direct involvement in the project was limited to a small number of students. 2. All students in one class were involved in the project (though only 4 attended the project days). 3. Three schools decided to work together but kept the project activity separate from the formal school curriculum, using the experience of the project from year one to inform the development of a new scheme of work which will be piloted in year two of the project. This is now underway.


11 are about opening our eyes and seeing the geography potential rather than the geography curriculum (Hopwood, 2007: 4) looking at what these young peoples experiences of what geography is, not geography the subject, but geography to think (ibid.).

12 The role of the teacher Students were clear that they need geography teachers Some took the lead Some stood well back We couldnt just say anything, it had to be related to geography: we needed someone to guide us and thats what the teacher did and that made it better.

13 The project helped some students describe and use geography as a tool for thinking about different places, while for others it seemed to help them see and use geography as a way of thinking about themselves in relation to places (Hopwood 2007)

14 The Big Brother Diary Room Why did you become involved? What have been the highs and lows of the project? What have you learnt about geography?

15 In our experience pupils do not have much to say about the curriculum… We could do more to help pupils develop a language for talking about learning and about themselves as learners so that they feel that it is legitimate for them actively to contribute to discussions about schoolwork with teachers and with each other. Rudduck, J & Flutter, (2000) Pupil Participation and Pupil Perspective: carving a new order of experience, Cambridge Journal of Education 30(1): 75-89

16 Some questions…. How can we provide young people with the language and skills to contribute to their geography curriculum? Should we be doing this? Are YPG neglected geographies in the school curriculum? Should young peoples geographies contribute to the school curriculum? What are some of the ethical and professional issues for educators? What might be the implications for the school geography curriculum?

17 They built this lovely winding path with little stones, sticks and petals and flowers. I never tried this before, working in the dirt. It was fantastic, they built an accurate detailed plan of the garden. Giving children a voice often just means providing the right medium. When children are able to create such great designs, adults will get involved in a dialogue with them, whereas normally the childrens perspective would not be considered. (

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