How did I get to this? I was quietly minding my own business as one of 5000 (mostly) Australian Geography teachers in a Facebook group when the suggestion was made that “someone” should help out in COVID times with online help. Only 25% of our members are actual Geography-degree teachers, so help is always welcomed. As a senior member and moderator, I was “volunteered” into surveying and responding to the needs identified by colleagues. The top 10 got the first tranche of sessions and off we went.
This particular topic is really close to my heart. I know that in doing it I’d kick a few cherished educational ideas but, if you ask, it seems impolite not to give! I’d just compared, by way of review, two of the current texts on Powerful Geography (Brooks et al and Bustin). Both seemed decent but neither, in my mind actually grappled with getting power and therefore rigour into the classroom which is where it needs to be.
To me, power is not just the subject but the entire classroom and the way learning is set up. Rigour is the focus; challenge is the medium and relentless improvement is the goal. It follows that I’m not a huge fan of differentiation partly because I’ve yet to see it effectively in lessons and partly because it sets limits to students; limits that I have imposed by creating work to a set standard. So, I teach to the top, expect students to aim for it, help those who need the support and demand even more of those who don’t. Rigour isn’t your top student, it’s every student being the best Geographer they can be with the personal resources they have. It’s not a textbook, it’s not a curriculum, it’s an approach to your subject – it’s a way of being.
I was asked to pen this and provide resources which I’ve done. Have a look and listen and see what you think. What can we do to make Geography as powerful as possible (because if COVID is anything to go by, we surely need more geographical understanding right now!)?
Dr Paul S Ganderton
By placing a booking, you are permitting us to store and use your (and any other attendees) details in order to fulfil the booking.
We will not use your details for marketing purposes without your explicit consent.
You must be a member holding a valid Society membership to view the content you are trying to access. Please login to continue.
Join us today, Society membership is open to anyone with a passion for geography
Cookies on the RGS website