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Transforming Tired Topics Fred Martin Tom Biebrach Alan Parkinson GA Secondary Phase Committee.

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Presentation on theme: "Transforming Tired Topics Fred Martin Tom Biebrach Alan Parkinson GA Secondary Phase Committee."— Presentation transcript:

1 Transforming Tired Topics Fred Martin Tom Biebrach Alan Parkinson GA Secondary Phase Committee


3 But... Some of them could do with a polish...

4 Made at

5 Ox Bow Lakes in Siberia from 30 000 ft by Fred Martin

6 Tired topic alert What has been taught for many years – core topics/themes, content Taught them in the same way Use the same case studies Resources date – technology moves on Ideas not updated – context changes

7 How topics tire Outside influences – Exam Boards set courses Repetition of topics Time to innovate Lack of Inset to update ideas Updating can cost Lack of assessment credit for updated ideas Personal ideas become stuck Disjuncture with ideas in HE geography Other agendas - Literacy Numeracy AfL etc.

8 Topics mentioned by teachers... Brazil – Soils - Human geography a bit depressing- Lapse rates - Specific skills e.g. Cross sections - Map-skills- Almost all settlement- Global fashion- Mass movement – Statistics I cant do maths...- Football - Rossby waves- Farming- Weather and climate - Meanders and river processes - Shopping hierarchies – EU - Regional inequalities in Italy

9 Are there any tired topics? Is the teacher or the topic tired? There is no definitive list of tired topics All topics need to be updated Reminders of the range of approaches that are possible – good subject teaching

10 …..we may need to throw out crusty old favourites … David Lambert A Different View (manifesto)

11 So how do we polish tired t..... ?

12 Student Voices Hadleigh School, Suffolk Thanks to Dale Banham, Suffolk Adviser Video clip

13 What do the students say ? Students are from a school in a small town in Suffolk, which has the Secondary Geography Quality Mark, and is also a Centre of Excellence – it has superb exam results and an impressive take up for Geography at Key Stage 4

14 Teacher voices... Survey on SLN

15 Developing empathy for the geographies of others what has it got to do with me ?

16 The debate is about how we teach, not what we teach: pace and challenge, innovation, personalisation...

17 Important that topics we dont enjoy should at no time be obvious to the pupils...

18 Following someone elses SoW... I can only tell my own story in my own way.....

19 Context GCSE Specifications have changed Which one have you gone for and why ? In each one there may be topics that you are not looking forward to teaching quite as much as others...

20 Teaching Tired Topics A Case Study

21 Chicago, 1925 Manchester, 2009 What is the connection? IMAGES REMOVED.... Images of Chicago in the twenties and Manchester today....

22 Burgess Concentric Ring Model, 1925 Source -

23 Criticism The original highly debateable, land-use models of the Chicago school (Burgess, 1925) have been adapted to the English [and Welsh] situation with repeated attempts made to fit any given urban area to the Burgess concentric ring model. The result has been an urban geography which has failed to capture the dynamism and complexity of the real world… (Rawding, 2007) Geographers [should] question established concepts and jettison those which are no longer useful for making sense of the urban experience. (Hubbard, 2006)

24 Alternative approach to land use mapping – Google Earth street view CBD Older terraced housing C.19 th Later housing (1930s-1950s) Modern housing Retail and leisure Industrial estates

25 View from above… Official accounts of city life (maps, census, plans etc) write the city from the point of view of an authoritative, privileged male. Miles (2002) The search for the essence of the city is one that impels urban researchers to look at the city from different vantage points and viewing angles…There can never be a unified theory of cities, only knowledges written from particular viewing angles in particular places and times. Hubbard (2006)

26 View from within Where am I? What can I see? What can I hear? What do I feel about this place? How could/should this place change in the future? Google Earth Street view…the modern day flâneur (or voyeur?) How has this place changed?

27 More information Hall, Hubbard & Short (Eds.) (2008) The Sage Companion to the City Sage, London Hubbard, P. (2006) City Routledge, Oxford. Rawding C. (2007) Reading our Landscapes Chris Kington, London Google Earth GA SPC

28 There are only ever choices.... When choices are made and accepted by a sufficient number of teachers, they tend to become 'common sense (Noel Castree, 2005) The choices YOU make are all important !

29 The best teachers will provide a narrative that engages and thrills. Theres always a story to be told and I think its possible to make any topic interesting, at least for one lesson anyway...

30 Weather came out bottom in popularity amongst the students, so I am trying to rework it as extreme weather... I get the nagging feeling that I am selling out...

31 Using movies

32 Your challenge Can you talk for one minute about a topic without.... REPETITION – using the same word more than once HESITATION – a pause, or erm... DEVIATION – getting off the topic

33 Manifesto Link

34 The lesson doesnt end when the lesson ends... Twitter (@GeoBlogs) Examples of topics that youve woken up... Presentation on Slideshare

35 Acknowledgements Thanks to other members of GA SPC and to members of SLN Geography Forum for comments Thanks to Dale Banham and pupils of Hadleigh High School for their insights Christine Lloyd Staples for Full Monty mystery Images: Alarm clock (Flickr User DHDesign), Shoe Polish (Flickr User Darwin Bell), title slide (Flickr User Splityarn) – all under Creative commons Manifesto image copyright Seth Johnson, 2008 Google Earth and Street View images copyright Google and associated imaging partners, 2009 Images found using COOLIRIS

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