Saturday, 19 January 2008

Primary Young Geographers Project

Via funding from the TDA we have been able to offer a new pilot project called `Young Geographers'. Two project groups are currently running, one in Canterbury (course leader Paula Owens) and one in Sheffield where I am course leader. I'm using this blog page to share ideas from my project group.

Additional information will be shared via the main GA project page website:

We had a very succesful first day yesterday which helped to get the project off to a very positive start. Through the project we are empasising four main elements:

· Engaging in practical 'curriculum making'

· Capturing the sense of motivating 'living geography'

· Learning Outside the Classroom

· Education for Sustainable Development

My introductory presentation was designed to promote reflection on what we might mean when we talk about `Living Geography' and what kinds of activities teachers are using to develop this approach in the primary classroom.

View `Living Geography' presentation.

The notes that follow may help you to make sense of some of the thinking that went into the presentation:

  • Who am I? Why focusing on `identity’ is a valuable place to start when thinking geographically.

· The link between place and identity, i.e where we grow up is a key factor in shaping our identity

· The importance of engaging young people with their own place and supporting them to explore their feelings about the place – Quikmaps example, Wakefield. Internet mapping that directly allows an exploration of place and space.

· Involving young people in `changing places’ – the importance of feeling that you can make a difference to your community, learning how change happens, what’s involved, making change happen (making learning real - not just another `school' activity)

· The importance of geographical imagination to the way we think about `place’ – location, first hand-experience, the way the world is represented to us and our emotional response to places are all important factors in shaping our geographical imaginations. Actual journey’s (fieldwork) and virtual journeys (role-play, drama, imaginative engagement with photographs) are valuable classroom activities that both inform and extend our geographical imagination.

· Discussions with others can help us to re-think the way that the world has been represented to us - `What image comes into your head when you are asked to think about Iran?’ [P4C can be a very supportive classroom strategy.]

  • Our concluding slides ask you to think about `school geography’ and experience of geography in our everyday lives – which kind of experience do we want for the children we teach?

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