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GA Pilot GCSE Pilot #1


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GA Pilot GCSE Pilot #1

  1. 1. SPONSORED BY THE GA cern with human emotions and values, of the multi- layered nature of explana- tion, and of the need to involve young people as active participants in and constructors of their own meanings. All these are fundamental to the changes taking place in university geography, particularly the ‘cultural turn’. But the significance for us as teachers is that these are also crucial to geography’s educative role in developing global citizens. Not surprisingly, it is diffi- cult for us to find the time to read up the latest de- velopments in academic journals or to spend as long as we’d like digging A main aim of the pilot GCSE course is to intro- duce more lively and in- novative geography to 14- 16 year olds, drawing as appropriate on the latest developments in aca- demic geography. There are strong hints given in the pilot specification of a dynamic rather than a static geography, of a con- EXPLORING THE CORE THEMES JANUARY 2006 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 THE PILOT each core theme, to- gether with at least one reference for further reading. I hope it is use- ful….. See p. 2 for the complete table Eleanor Rawling Ice fall in the French Alps Developing support As the Pilot continues to develop rapidly, so to does the support which can be pro- vided for those managing and teaching it. This year, we are trying to develop some new support ideas which we hope you will all want to make use of. Firstly, as you can see, we are developing an elec- tronic newsletter which we will send out every other month. We want you to get involved as we want this newsletter to be an opportunity for you to develop ideas and share great practice, so if you would like to contribute any innovative ideas, perspectives on the various units, or ideas for lessons or portfolio work that have worked really well, please feel free to e-mail me and we will try to include them in future issues. Over the next month or two we are also de- veloping a virtual learning environment which will be hosted by the Geographical Association, allowing centres to contribute and access resources, ideas, and a number of discussion groups we would like to set up. Finally, we have booked the Royal Geo- graphical Society in London on the 6th July for a conferences focusing on innovative ideas and curriculum development across the Pilot. More details will be sent out within the next month once we have a more con- crete timetable for the day. For those want- ing to start to plan, we expect to subsidise the cost of the conference leading to a cost of between £30-40 per candidate for the day. We would also be interested in hearing from anyone who might want to run a 50 minute workshop session focus- ing on either the core units or the op- tions,. A final big thank-you must go to Di Swift who has developed such a strong founda- tion on which we can build in the future. Phil Wood ( Project funded by the DfES Page Exploring the core themes—summary table 2 The place of physical geography in the core 3 Geography in the news— reflecting on the unit 4 Cultural geography - reflecting on the unit 4 Diary 5 Resources at the Royal Geographical Society 5 Resources at the Geo- graphical Association 6
  2. 2. Page 2 THE PILOT Core Theme What’s it all about? What are some of the big ideas? What’s been in the news? (examples only) What else can I read? (examples only) My Place Using students’ own locality and commu- nity as a jumping-off point to explore the dynamics and sig- nificance of place (and at the same time to raise some big issues about the geography of the UK) Each place can only be explained by referring to the multiplicity of local, national and global links and inter- actions taking place continuously; Places are always in the process of being made, never finished; Places are meeting places in which people negotiate, compromise and change as they live their daily lives; Issues arising from the local also give access to the national and global. What being Brit- ish means – Gordon Brown’s proposal for a celebration of ‘Britishness’ Jan 2006 * Massey, D (2005) For Space, Sage Especially chaps 11 (slices through space) and 14 (there are no rules of space and place) * Cresswell, T (2005) Place, Black- well Publishing An Extreme Envi- ronment Studying one exam- ple of an extreme environment as a way into examining our changing im- ages and percep- tions of landscapes/ environments and the dynamic interac- tions between peo- ple and physical processes. We live in an awe-inspiring world; The history of our interaction with extreme environments provides a fascinating insight into changing perceptions and images (incl. eg colonial /exploitation; mod- ern /personal challenge + adven- ture tourism) Studying the physical processes which give rise to extreme environ- ments opens our eyes to the holistic nature and fragility of these places and reminds us of our responsibili- ties to the future; Nature is changing at the same time as humans develop (“we cannot celebrate a mobile culture and hold nature still” Massey 2005) We are already too late to avoid environmental catastrophe – James Love- lock /Gaia Jan 2006 Species decline – many egs but- terflies, birds, fish Oct05-Jan06 * Nash C Land- scapes and W Ad- ams Sustainability in Introducing Hu- man Geographies 1999, ed Cloke, Crang and Godwin Arnold. People as Consum- ers Recognising how deeply our role as consumers is inte- grated into every- day life and how this understanding is crucial to explaining landscapes and en- vironments, and to addressing ethical issues about power and responsibility. We are all consumers making a ma- jor impact on landscapes, environ- ments and people throughout the world through the products and ser- vices we chose/use; There are specific landscapes that can be recognised as landscapes of consumption; Producers and consumers are inex- tricably linked in relationships of power and dependency; There are ethical and moral issues raised by our consumer actions and choices; Advertising and the media play a major role in influencing the geog- raphy of consumption. State of National Health service, Jan 2006 G8 discussions world trade/ debt/aid Autumn 2005 * Goss, J Consump- tion in Introducing Human Geographies ed Cloke, Crang, and Godwin Ar- nold. * Dicken, P (2003) Global Shift; reshap- ing the global eco- nomic map in the 21st century Sage * Also fascinating background for teachers is Kenway J and Bullen J, 2001 Consuming Children Open University Press (draws atten- tion to the culture of consumerism kids live in/implications for education)
  3. 3. Page 3 THE PILOT Phwarr – look at that arête…. A quick survey of people in the street reveals that for many their most poignant memories of physical geogra- phy are ones of ox- bow lakes, corries and standing in a cold stream. The core unit ‘An Extreme Environ- ment – exploring landscape and proc- esses’ is about far more than the harshness of the Himalayas, the dryness of the deserts, the iciness of the extreme cold places. Whilst studying the land- forms and processes stu- dents also consider the challenges of the extreme environments, the interac- tion of people with their environment and the con- cept of a sustainable future. Only ONE of the three extreme environments needs to be studied. In the majority of cen- tres the decision will have been made by teachers, however, it would also be possible to offer a choice of environments to stu- dents by using a pro- ject based learning ap- proach to the unit. Is this unit the only focus of physical geography in the core units? A study of the local area in ‘My Place – Living in the UK Today’ would not be complete with- out some understanding of the physical geography of the local area. For some places, the physical fea- tures may be some of the defining characteristics of the place. Changes result- ing from physical processes may be the underlying cause of issues in the area, and an understanding of the processes and landforms may be key to a deeper understanding of the chal- lenges, issues and changes. Within the ‘People as Con- sumers’ unit, an investiga- tion into the issues of the Coca Cola factory in Kerala, India leads to the inequali- ties in water resources. How can the depletion of groundwater resources be fully explained without also exploring the processes associated with groundwa- ter storage, depletion and replenishment. Meeting the resource re- quirements for teaching the physical geography is not a landslide of a task – most GCSE textbooks provide a good resource for teaching the processes and land- forms – this coupled with a creative approach – anno- tated models for example, enables students to demon- strate their learning in a more unusual way. Identifying landscapes through a wide variety of media, including pictures, photographs, film, en- hances students interest and awareness of physical geography. For instance, the deserts of Wadi Rum depicted in the film ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and other desert scenes quickly impart a sense of the ex- treme heat, dryness, and lack of vegetation – taking the students’ imagination beyond their personal ex- perience. Whilst there are three core units in the Pilot GCSE Ge- ography on the surface appear to have a focus on the physical, human and place themes the key com- ponents of geography are fully embedded in each of the units. Successful learning is…. sitting on a coach having just disembarked from an aircraft at Lourdes en route to the Pyrenees and hear- ing a 14 year old student shout out from the back of the coach ‘Phwarr look at…’ (no, not the attractive young lady who had just walked past…) ‘…the arêtes on that mountain’ Jane Girlow The Place of Physical Geography in the Core units
  4. 4. Page 4 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 The teaching of this unit could be done in a wide variety of ways and can be arranged to suit the teacher, the ability and motivation of the students and the facilities and op- portunities available to you. The two portfolio pieces should form part of a wider body of work that students complete. There are dif- ferent ways of organising lessons in this unit, for example: Whole group activities – tradi- tional lessons where you teach the geography behind a particular news story, so that students can produce a piece of written (or al- ternative) work. (Teaching tropical storms – Hurricane Katrina) This approach worked quite well for lower ability students who needed structured lessons and struggled with individual research. Student choice – give students carte blanche. Choose a news story and research it, this can be particularly useful for high ability classes and students who have particular geographical interests. This can be problematic if stu- dents are not well organised and providing support can be quite daunting for staff. The group task in this unit is vital, this is where students can gain a real understanding of how the media works – by doing it them- selves. The presentations could be set out as a news broadcast or as a presentation about the local issue. (In my classes it was a mix- ture of the two). It is important that the local issue can be linked to Geography and to the key themes of the GCSE, for example, the opening of a local by-pass included sustainability, globalisa- tion, interdependence and un- even development. Finally it is very useful to have les- sons looking at general issues, like how the media works. The BBC has some useful information about how their correspondents file stories and where they get their information. The idea of different news agencies or papers covering the same story in different ways – we made use of lots of web based papers and some stu- dents make a point of checking these for every piece of work. This is a very flexible unit and the flexibility can seem daunting, it did (and sometimes still does) to me. Every time that we teach this unit we will be doing something new which means that if something does not work once, you can always change it! Jenny Brassington resultant effects is to be written and presented. The centre-piece of the unit assess- ment is a group developed multi- media installation focusing on a par- ticular place and its different repre- sentations. We have used this as a real opportunity to show the school playing a part in the local commu- nity, with the student groups each taking responsibility to collect infor- mation about the local area. Some have videoed other teenagers from the area to create a bank of short ‘voxpops’ giving different views and perspectives about the location. Oth- ers have searched for images going as far back as they can find. Yet oth- ers have interviewed grandparents who have lived in the area their whole lives and who can therefore provide personal, oral histories. From this we are creating a local cultural archive which will act as the main bank of information from which the groups can draw to develop their multi-media installations. A copy will also be lodged in the local This is a new option for this year which very much reflects the pre- dominant approach to Human Ge- ography found in many university departments across the country. It has several main themes, including the scope for detailed considera- tion of local places, directly follow- ing on from My Place in the Core units. There are also in-depth areas of study centred on multiculturalism and the U.K., and the effect of glob- alization on culture across the planet. Assessment is by three tasks as well as a wider consideration of work as a whole. The focus here is on origi- nality and students developing very personalised ways of explaining and exemplifying the concepts cov- ered. Two pieces are individual responses, one being a magazine or newspaper article. This has proved a rich experience as we have explicitly linked ideas devel- oped in English about genre and style to inform how the piece on the potential for a global culture and its library. One issue to consider in this group task is the technical structure you want to allow a multi-media in- stallation to be developed. This needs to be thought about early on and built in to any activity which is developed. As a unit, we have found it very easy to draw on ideas and issues from the first year of study, taking into ac- count not only the local area and its representation (My Place), but also the characteristics of other cultures (Extreme Environments), and the rise of global cultural influences through agents such as Transna- tional Corporations (People as Con- sumers). Finally, it has really sparked the enthusiasm of the stu- dents as they see it as being about them and the loves they lead every day of the week— which of course it is! Phil Wood Geography in the News Cultural Geography
  5. 5. Page 5 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1 Place separately – that will have to be a summer holiday job; we are now starting Extreme Environ- ments. I find this unit much more straight- forward to plan and teach and I also love teaching it. It was at this point in the course last year that students really started to enjoy themselves, the Himalayas and glaciation (which I was really sur- prised by) fascinated them; they spent the rest of the year trying to Happy New Year! I have just about come to the end of the My Place unit. This is the third time that we have taught it and it has overrun every year. The trouble is that there is so much to look at and you can cover so much of Geog- raphy with in it! Maybe next year I’ll try a new approach, I am wondering about looking at each of the key themes in turn and applying each one to My persuade me to take them to a glaci- ated area! The resources for this course are similar to those I used last year, which means that I can get on with other work, like the Coastal Management module for year 11 and planning our coastal fieldwork. Exam entries need to be in soon and I must schedule time to mark all of Geography in the News over half term. I love the fact that my job is never dull but it keeps me very busy!! Jenny Brasington Diary the News site http:// Tales of the city - • World urban update: what do the latest facts and figures tell us? • Growing pains: why are shanty towns being bulldozed? • Changing places: how did Liver- pool became a post-industrial city? • Suburban shame: why were there riots in French cities? • Making places: why do govern- ments build new capital cities? Yuletide logging - What are the true costs of buying real and artificial Christmas trees? Politically correct? - Does the UK political map correctly represent you? What does politics have to do with geography and what does ge- ography have to do with politics? World war who? - How did events 60 years ago help shape the geog- raphy of Europe and what does ‘citizenship’ really mean? Generation lost? - Why was South News from the Royal Geo- graphical Society with IBG The Society’s website provides a wealth of materials to help busy teachers and to provide learning materials for secondary schools. The education area of the main Society website education provides CPD materials enabling the teaching of GIS, ESD and other geographical curricu- lum developments as well as re- sources, case studies and images from the Society’s research pro- grammes. Unlocking the Archives, provides learning materials using the Soci- ety’s collections, inspiring stu- dents to understand our changing world and its people, stimulating debate in geography, history and citizenship. Geography in the News www.geographyinthenews.rgs.or g supports post -14 students, us- ing the Society’s intellectual re- sources to interpret the geogra- phy behind the headlines. The following articles have recently been added to the Geography in Asia so hard hit by a major quake? What factors determined the im- pact of this hazard? Muddy waters - Hurricane blues: was Katrina a natural or human disaster? Was the response to Rita different? Crazy paving - Why are gardens disappearing and what is the im- pact on run-off and flood risk Watch out for new articles on China, coasts, energy and tourism to be added to the site soon. Judith Mansell Resources at the Royal Geographical Society
  6. 6. SPONSORED BY THE GA You might be interested in in- vesting in the STATE OF THE NATION pack – up to date data on the UK with mapping capability and a pack of lesson ideas – again, with great po- tential at all levels, but just the job for providing some enquir- ies with ‘stretch’! Also avail- able with e-learning credits. You may wish to dip your toe into THEORY INTO PRAC- TICE – our professional devel- opment series. This takes a challenging aspect of peda- gogy, or geography, or both, and provides practical exam- ples on how to develop materi- als and approaches in the classroom. For example, • Moral Dilemmas • Dramatically Good Ge- ography • Extending writing skills • Mysteries Make you Think • Place, ‘Race’ and Teach- ing Geography But there is more to come. Hopefully you have seen cov- erage of two products that are on their way, in the recent GA MAGAZINE. These are de- signed to support subject lead- ership in school Egeography, written by Fred Martin, and Secondary Handbook, edited by David Balderstone From the GA Even the most assiduous member of the GA can eas- ily lose track of what else is on offer from the Associa- tion to support the pilot GCSE. Here’s a little list! The HIGH ARCTIC pack was designed specifically to support the Extreme En- vironments module. It is the result of an amazing expe- dition which combined art, literature and science – the Cape Farewell expedition. This pack is a fantastic basis to learn about Arctic envi- ronments and specifically about Global Warming. It has a student resource, DVD, CD and printed teachers’ pack and can be bought with e-learning credits. Have you come across the CHANGING GEOGRA- PHY series, which take a theme and refresh it with contemporary knowledge and examples? Each can be ‘quarried’ for some really good geography. For ex- ample, • Citizen, State and Na- tion • Countryside Conflicts • Disability, Space and Society • Sustainable Tourism • Regenerating City Centres • Sportscapes Both of these will make a sig- nificant contribution to helping create exciting geographies for GCSE, and will be available in time for the Annual Confer- ence in April. Visit the geogra- phy shop now! Resources at the Geographical Association