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Making My Place in the World

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Presentation on theme: "Making My Place in the World"— Presentation transcript:

1 Making My Place in the World
Sue Bermingham MMU John Lyon Geographical Association

2 The Model Actual Preferred Community Geographers School 1 School 3

3 Making My Place in the World
Geography: the school subject Geography teachers Students geographical lives Local Community

4 Curriculum Possibilities
OCR Spec A What constitutes ‘your place’? Where is it? What do you know about it? How do you feel about it? Why is it important to you – and others? How is it represented, seen and experienced by others? (And for what different purposes?) Candidates’ personal geographies. What are the major issues affecting ‘your place’? What are the key processes of change operating on the local area/community? What changes might take place in the future? Candidates' own visions/ideas for the future of the local area.

5 What we wanted to achieve
A conceptual framework for interrogating places and spaces A vocabulary for talking about place Enquiry based learning centred on developing effective conversations between children and place managers Improved confidence with speaking and listening and a greater awareness of themselves as participants and agents of influence in the world. The work has been underpinned by Philosophy for Children (P4C). The two key practices we took from P4C are enquiry (interpreted as going beyond information to seek understanding) and reflection which results in significant changes of thought and action. Conceptual frameworks (theoretical frameworks) are a type of intermediate theory that attempt to connect to all aspects of inquiry (e.g., problem definition, purpose, literature review, methodology, data collection and analysis). Conceptual frameworks can act like maps that give coherence to empirical inquiry. Because conceptual frameworks are potentially so close to empirical inquiry, they take different forms depending upon the research question or problem.

6 Young People’s Geographies
An exclusive and excluding curriculum that only values certain kinds of knowledge and experience signals to many young people how we, as a society, value them now - as individuals as members of diverse communities and as contributors to wider society. It could be deemed educationally careless to ignore the social and cultural capital of this significant group whose spatial lives are shaped by powerful local-global forces; ignoring these geographies runs the risk of alienating significant proportions of young people and of leaving school geography out of kilter with their needs and interests. Young people’s geographies, as a research paradigm, can tell us a great deal about the lives of young people in order to support the development of a more relevant and inclusive school curriculum, but, accessing these geographies can only happen with the consent and participation of young people themselves.

7 Collaborative Classrooms
“Teacher talk dominates classrooms and controls the process by which communication takes place, by deciding what kind of talk is permissible, by whom and for how long.” Margaret Roberts

8 Value Lines Other statements for students to respond to;
I learn best from discussing in groups I learn best on my own 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Other statements for students to respond to; Teachers do not see what pupils see The best lessons are active Talking helps me to work out what I mean I am confident at trying something new I like giving my opinion on things When I leave school think I want to go to University I intend to live in this area when I am an adult I am proud of my local area

9 Does your image represent your place?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Students were asked to describe their image and then make a decision about the image. Much discussion developed. What can’t we see or know from the photo? Can you see ‘change’? What do they think other people think of their place? As they discussed the views and images we found that the students had very limited vocabulary to describe photographs. How is language linked to how people perceive the world? We thought of a couple of activities such as; in pairs, students sit back-to-back and describe an image and then their partner draws the image without seeing it. They also write down as many adjectives that they can think of to describe a photo. Include positive and negative words. These activities should develop students' questioning and listening skills as well as encouraging them to ‘see' and interrogate their local place more closely. Teacher comment - The photo activity ‘Bury, or not!’ was interesting. Pupils had clear opinions on whether they could relate their experiences of Bury to the photo they had, but when asked to explain that found it difficult to explain. One pupil found it particularly difficult to describe the image he had, but with a little encouragement and questioning from John he began to voluntarily use more specific language with more confidence, e.g. it’s a semi-detached house. Teacher comment – X is a pupil who struggles during group work or when getting involved in lessons, so to see X put a hand up 4 times and talk – X did extremely well.  X also answered questions really well with some good remarks.  X also didn't seem to follow the crowd which was very brave as at one point X stood in the middle then a couple of other pupils joined, so X seemed quite comfortable in getting involved and giving own opinions. YES NO

10 What they said .... small busy diverse mixed interesting boring
multicultural modern busy mixed boring Green

11 Initial findings They had very little to tell us about their place. ‘It’s just there’.. They weren’t aware that other people might have different views of their place Students had very limited vocabulary to describe their place. Does lack of language limit our thinking? Is it possible to have an idea, concept or belief if you can’t express it in words? How can we develop a richer language for talking about place? Will changing language change attitudes, or are changes in attitude reflected in the language people use?

12 Familiar hard to describe
The range of geographical vocabulary used to describe ‘familiar’ everyday places at the start of the project was limited and provided a challenge for the pupils as they converse with place managers and community geographers. Of course geography as a discipline should give us the conceptual sophistication to interrogate places and spaces. However we soon discovered that the students lacked the vocabulary to talk in any meaningful way about place. We organised a series of activities to identify words that planners might use during their normal workday and we also looked at words needed to engage with the urban topics on their GSCE specifications. It was quickly apparent to the students that they needed to build an appropriate vocabulary as well as hone their skills of observation, speaking and listening.

13 Geographical Words? Extending vocabulary?

14 What the City Council say

15 Words for the exam...


17 Bingo time!! Choose 9 words from the wordbank provided you are confident you will be able to see on the following photographs Are their any words that you’d like a friend to define before we start?

18 Student teacher perspective
I particularly thought the part of the lesson whereby the students had the opportunity to question words they didn’t know useful as it gave an opportunity to dissolve any misconceptions, using their peers to answer questions kept their attention and made them think as they didn’t know if they would have to answer! The students really seemed to engage with this and found it fun to ask other students for definitions or the teachers something they would rarely be able to do. Being able to understand the words before using them to me was an excellent idea as this allowed them to understand clearer what they were looking for in activities later in the lesson.

19 Pupils voice We tried to allow student voice to be dominant in identifying the key issues. We hoped to develop in the students’ awareness that theirs is only one view among a range of views and to understand and respect diversity, and through effectively developing their speaking and listening skills to understand they can have a voice that contributes to the future of their local area. One student comment ‘what I’ve learnt is that you don’t really know a place until you’ve talked to other people to see what they think about it’.

20 Change is uncomfortable
Relinquishing control over choice of issues and activities takes many teachers out of their comfort zone. Pupils can be passionate, voicing their concerns about place based issues e.g. the role of CCTV in public / private spaces flagship developments and homeless people inequalities and difference – how regeneration changes communities A flagship regeneration project – is the social housing allocation fair We wanted the young People to research and debate a particular issue(s) they have chosen in their locality.


22 Legacy of Project John working with Stockport schools (P&S) – Literacy & Fieldwork 2 academic conferences – international conversations TA inclusion Learning does it require writing? Space and place – definitions Planners – Stockport

23 Legacy of Project Chapter in book Magical project – collaboration
PhD – Space that energises? Princes Trust session – local Geog? Ipad – digital literacy Toolkit of ideas on website Further study of participants (MA & PGCE) Closer relationship with councillors

24 Legacy of Project Curriculum change in all schools
Think differently - Language and geography Pupil involvement in GA Conference

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