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Researching Enjoyable Geography GA Conference Manchester 2009 Teresa Lenton, Megan Davies Alexis Roberts.

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Presentation on theme: "Researching Enjoyable Geography GA Conference Manchester 2009 Teresa Lenton, Megan Davies Alexis Roberts."— Presentation transcript:

1 Researching Enjoyable Geography GA Conference Manchester 2009 Teresa Lenton, Megan Davies Alexis Roberts

2 The Presenters Teresa Lenton Geography Lecturer Secondary Geography Course Leader University of Cumbria Megan Davies Geography Teacher at Archbishop Temple School, Preston Alexis Roberts Geography Teacher at Matthew Moss High School, Rochdale

3 What is the Purpose of Research? To develop more engaging enjoyable effective Vibrant Geography? Personal? accreditation interest

4 What is the Purpose of Educational Research? Think, Pair, Share…… 2 minutes each partner

5 What is the Purpose of Research? To create new knowledge / theories To analyse and gain an understanding of the nature of a phenomena or problem To solve a problem To influence or challenge practices To prove something; i.e. promote a particular approach To examine relationships To predict events It should be grounded in a philosophical position

6 Action/Practitioner Research? Action research is simply a form of self-reflective enquiry undertaken by participants in social situations in order to improve the rationality and justice of their own practices, their understanding of these practices, and the situations in which the practices are carried out (Carr and Kemmis 1986: pp162)

7 Kurt Lewins Circle of Planning Reflecting Planning Acting Observing Lewin, K Resolving Social Conflicts; Selected Papers on Group Dynamics

8 Conducting Practitioner Research Through radical reading to expose the purpose and position of both texts and practice (Clough, P. and Nutbrown, C. 2002/7, pp 99) research in your classrooms:-Listening to the student voice to interpret events in our classrooms. Considering the opinions and views of our students can provide invaluable insights and implications for teaching and learning expert reflections

9 What is Enjoyable Geography? The teacher view ? Place the cards in rank order

10 Fun lessons (videos, PowerPoints, games, the teacher...) Doing lots of different activities (group work, writing, drawing) Learning about the earths features (e.g. volcanoes, rivers) Learning about how different people live (e.g. how people shop) Learning about problems in nature (e.g. global warming) Interesting lessons where we learn useful facts The fact that the classroom is exciting with lots to look at The fact I am good at geography and think I will do well Praise and rewards from the teacher for good work Being able to understand the work because it is broken down and well explained Having time to present my work nicely My friends being in the class The teacher treating us with respect Learning about things which mean something to me Other people (friends, family...) say I am good at geography

11 Researching Enjoyable Geography Case Study 1 Alexis Roberts

12 Action research: What do Year 9 pupils enjoy about Geography? Why enjoyable? - It is one of the few factors affecting subject choice at KS4 which teachers can have influence over (unlike option columns, future careers, etc.). What were the research methods? Pupil (rather than teacher) perceptions – due to unique context: the Year 9 pupils used in this study had chosen to learn Geography during Year 9 (rather than other Humanities subjects); therefore it was assumed they found some enjoyment in the subject. Random generation of enjoyment factors – all Year 9 geography pupils anonymously wrote down what they enjoyed about their geography lessons during a starter. All Year 9 geography pupils completed a questionnaire ranking the enjoyment factors (see slide 3) Small, semi-structured group interviews were held with Year 9 pupils who both had and hadnt chosen Geography at KS4.

13 What were the findings? Learning processes were perceived to be more important than subject content (see table of initial statements below). Factors of most importance from the questionnaire results were fun lessons; ability to understand; interesting lessons; personal relevance; and respect from the teacher (see slide 4). Respect from the teacher was ranked as either very important or importance by all pupils; the interview confirmed this as important to pupils, regardless of subject. Boys ranked subject content factors as more important than girls, perhaps suggesting an intrinsic interest in the subject (more research would be needed to fully justify this). Fun lessons Initial statements made by pupils Total for subject content:7 out of 118 Total for subject content and lesson processes combined:37 out of 118 Total for teacher specific comments:28 out of 118 Total for lesson processes (including teacher specific comments): 74 out of 118 Implications: The teacher has a huge impact on enjoyment of a subject.

14 Researching Enjoyable Geography Why enjoyable? Why pupils perceptions? What were the research methods? What were the outcomes? What now? Why do students enjoy geography? Fun lessons Variety of activities Physical geography Human geography Environmental geography Interesting Classroom presentation Pupil confidence in own abilities Teacher praise and rewards Ability to understand Presentation time Friends in class Respect from teacher Personal relevance of topic Other people praise ability Respect from teacher Ability to understand Interesting Fun lessons Personal relevance Questionnaire results:

15 Case Study 2: Megan Davies Researching Global vs Local What has it got to do with me? Aim: to assess pupils feeling of relevance to local and global issues, and modify schemes of work to reflect this Setting: Mixed Comprehensive Curriculum area: Year 9 QCA Unit 11 Investigating Brazil Research Step 1: Reflective Journal Research Step 2: Questionnaire of wider Year 10 sample Research Step 3: Focus Group of Year 10 Geographers Research Step 4: Semi structured interviews with staff

16 Research Findings: Q uestionnaire Recycling30% Unemployment60% Saving Energy50% UK Population60% Clearing natural land for housing 60% Deforestation40% Global Poverty30% Global Population73%

17 Research Findings: focus group comments Why do I need to know about somewhere I will never go to? Our recycling gets taken away…so I can do something about it, what can I do about deforestation? I can hardly stop poverty I dont need a job yet so I dont need to worry (about unemployment)

18 Implications?

19 Other Possible Areas for Practitioner Research? Boys v girls the gender gap in GCSE Geography Introducing new ICT strategies in Geography lessons The value of peer assessment for enhancing learning How becoming an eco school changes attitudes of students to sustainable issues Curriculum development:- revision of a short scheme of work through action research Enhancing the value of a fieldwork exercise Introducing fieldwork:-the impact on students and teachers Student attitudes towards geography in a cross- curricular humanities curriculum Option Choice at GCSE or A level Geography Transition from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage Three Geography

20 Where Next? In pairs and taking the title Curriculum development:- revision of a short scheme of work through action research Identify the following struts or strategies I need to……? I need others to….? I need these resources….?

21 Ethical Issues For Your Research? Informed consent Not harmful or damaging to the participants Anonymity Power Complexities of your particular position as a teacher/researcher

22 A Mystery ? Why is there a dead frog in an aquarium surrounded by dead flies?

23 References Carr, W. and Kemmis, S. (1986) Becoming Critical. Education, Knowledge and Action Research, Lewes, Falmer Clough, P. and Nutbrown, C. (2002) A Students' Guide to Methodology: Justifying Enquiry: London Sage Geographical Association, (2009) A Different View a Manifesto from the Geographical Association, Sheffield: GA Lewin, K. (1948). Resolving social conflicts, selected papers on group dynamics [ ]. (1st ed.). New York : Harper. HM251.L474

24 Bibliography Bryman, A., (2008) Social Research Methods, Oxford: Oxford University Press Cohen,L. Manion, L. Morrison K., (2007) Research Methods in Education, London: Routledge Mcniff, J. and Whitehead, J., 2006, All You Need to Know About Action Research: An Introduction, London: Sage Mason, J. (2 nd ed.), (2007) Qualitative Researching, London: Sage Smith, J.A. (ed.) (2003) Qualitative Psychology: A Practical Guide to Research Methods, London: Sage

25 Web Links Three case studies which highlight the way in which action research projects can work within a school and provide an insight into the problems that various schools have faced.

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