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Linking Geography and Sustainability


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Workshop at National Sustainable Schools Conference 10 July 2013 London …

Workshop at National Sustainable Schools Conference 10 July 2013 London
Angus Willson

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  • The lasting wisdom of the teaching profession versus the short-termism and vanity of politicians.
  • Despatchesthe idea that ‘we don’t have to do the NC’ with ‘show me your school curriculum’. NB Regulation to have school curriculum on website.Deborah Jones, National Curriculum Review Division,DfE
  • For significance you might add “motivational and relevant”.
  • What is distinctive about your school / departmental curriculum?
  • Department plan or improvement plan would also be part of the Handbook identifying particular new interventions.
  • – Ofsted DO NOT want a lesson plan(!), but evidence of a planned lesson… (September 2012 criteria).Ross Morrison McGill: This simple tool will help you mentally prepare for your lesson, but not get bogged down in whole-school pro forma that consumes unnecessary time. @TeacherToolkit – contact me at:
  • Lipman, P. (2011). The new political economy of urban education. Taylor & Francis.Pierce, C. (2013). Education in the age of biocapitalism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • NC 2
  • NC 3
  • Smith, Maggie (2013) ‘How does education for sustainable development relate to geography education?’ in Lambert, David and Jones, Mark (eds) (2013) Debates in Geography Education, London: Routledge
  • Smith, Maggie (2013) ‘How does education for sustainable development relate to geography education?’ in Lambert, David and Jones, Mark (eds) (2013) Debates in Geography Education, London: Routledge
  • Scott, William (2013) ‘Lessons from Sustainability’, Primary Geography, Spring 2013
  • Transcript

    • 1. LinkingSustainabilityand GeographyAngus WillsonPannage.comNational SustainableSchools Conference10 July 2013
    • 2. Curriculum clamour“And a bit more monitor, if you’ve got it.”“Can we have everything louder than everythingelse?”Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, Live in Japan,1972
    • 3. School curriculum“It is intended that thenew curriculum willprovide a benchmarkfor all schools includingthose that are notrequired by law toteach the nationalcurriculum.”DfE (May 2013)
    • 4. What is curriculum making?• the creative act of interpreting a curriculum specification orscheme of work and turning it into acoherent, challenging, engaging and enjoyable scheme ofwork.• a job that really never ends and lies at the heart of goodteaching.The ingredients of curriculum makingTeachers make it happen in the classroom by drawing fromtheir knowledge of:• teaching approaches and specific teaching techniques• students and how they learn• the subject - geography - and what it is for
    • 5. Why think about significance?Thinking about geographical significance mayhelp as we choose what to include in our newcurriculum - themes, case studies, placestudies etc.What makes something sufficiently significantfor students to need and want to learn aboutit?
    • 6. Why think about significance? 2Is it… personal relevance, generalinterest, global relevance – who decides?How do we build on pupils’ experiences?• Can you justify your choice of places, themesand issues?• How do we explain to learners the importanceof what we teach?
    • 7. Effective?Periodically evaluate and record the impact ofyour curriculum developments on learners bycollecting clear evidence of the number oflearners affected and the degree of differenceseen in them.Maintain, change or move on…
    • 8. Task – choose a topicWhat keywords might we associate with thistopic?What will your children already know about thistopic?What do your students want to learn about?
    • 9. DocumentationDepartment handbook• KS curriculum plan < localisation• National Curriculum• Topic outline• Schemes of (SoW) < significance• Units• Lesson plans
    • 10. The 5 minute Lesson PlanThe BIG picture?Engagement?Stickability!Differentiation A f LLearningEpisodesTeacher Led or Student Led?Teacher Led or Student Led? Teacher Led or Student Led? Teacher Led or Student Led?R.McGill 2012 - @TeacherToolkitObjectivesalong the way….….print and scribble your way to Outstanding!
    • 11. Habitat, home and communityEveryone has to live somewhere. The youngestchild has their own sense of ‘home’ and what itmeans to live with others. Older children becomeaware of the variety of housing and the equivalentways animals and insects live together. They gain anunderstanding of interdependence and becomeyoung people making their own choices connectedwith how we live with each other.• How is this developing experience related tosustainability in our school curriculum?
    • 12. Reflection and evaluation• Why do we do it like this?• How do we know it is successful?• What is the impact on teaching and learning?
    • 13. £ $ £“It is difficult to look at mainstreameducational discourse without observingthat, in the main, educational institutionsare becoming increasingly more efficient ataligning their structures and processeswith the logic of neoliberal institutions,
    • 14. [ institutions that have been shown to bemore interested in maximizing efficienciesin natural and human resource productionthan they are in caring for the well-being ofdiverse people and the environments inwhich we live (Lipman, 2011; Pierce,2013).”
    • 15. Online discussion
    • 16. Cross-referencesY7:1 Where we liveY7:2 Our amazing worldY7:3 Wild weatherY7:4 GlobalisationY7:5 People everywhereY7:6 Mapping decisions
    • 17. Y8:1 Flood disasterY8:2 Local actions – globaleffectsY8:3 Kenya enquiryY8:4 Countries comparedY8:5 EcosystemsY8:6 Coastal landscape
    • 18. Y9:1 HazardsY9:2 TourismY9:3 In the newsY9:4 AustraliaY9:5 StuffY9:6 Development issues
    • 19. Geography - Purpose of studyA high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity andfascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for therest of their lives.Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people,resources and environments, together with a deep understanding of theEarth’s key physical and human processes.As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world helps them todeepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and humanprocesses, and of the formation of landscapes and environments.Geographical knowledge provides the tools and approaches that explain howthe Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected andchange over time.
    • 20. Task – make the links• Where are the sustainability opportunities?• Do certain localities lend themselves to astudy or an understanding of sustainability?• Which items of core knowledge might be apreparation for sustainability?
    • 21. Pupils should be taught to: Sustainabilityopportunitiesdescribe and understand key aspects of:physical geography, including: climate zones,biomes and vegetation belts, rivers,mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, andthe water cycleBio-diversity; climatechange; rainforestdestruction anddesertification;systemshuman geography, including: settlements,land use, economic activity including tradelinks, and the distribution of natural resourcesincluding energy, food, minerals, and watersuppliesHabitats, homes andcommunity; urbanimpact oncountryside; ruralprotection;renewables; peak-oil;food security andwaste; food miles;water consumption;supply chain
    • 22. Pupils should be taught to: Sustainabilityopportunitiesunderstand, through the use of detailed placebased exemplars at a variety of scales, thekey processes in:physical geography relating to: glaciation,plate tectonics, rocks, soils, weathering,geological timescales, weather and climate,rivers and coastsClimate change,desertification,water cyclehuman geography relating to: population,international development, economic activityin the primary, secondary, tertiary andquaternary sectors, urbanisation, and the useof natural resourcesFinite and renewableresources, wasteand re-cycling,understand how human and physicalprocesses interact to have an impact on andform distinctive landscapesHabitat loss, floodthreat, coastalmanagement
    • 23. Physical geography: processes and changeGeomorphic processes and landscape […]Changing weather and climate – The causes,consequences of and responses to extremeweather conditions and natural weatherhazards, together with their changingdistribution in time and space. The spatial andtemporal characteristics, evidence for andcauses of climatic change over the past twomillion years to the present day.
    • 24. People and environment: processes andinteractionsGlobal ecosystems – An overview of thedistribution and characteristics of large scalenatural global ecosystems (such as tundra,rainforest and temperate forest), drawing outthe interdependence of climate, soil, water,plants, animals and humans and the issuesrelated to sustainable use and management.
    • 25. Resource management and biodiversity - Howhumans use, modify and change naturalecosystems in ways that may be sustainable orunsustainable. At least three specific examplesat local and regional scales should be chosen toillustrate how this may lead to beneficial (e.g.agriculture and food production, identifying newenergy resources) and/or detrimental outcomes(e.g. desertification, loss of biodiversity, soildegradation) for human well-being.
    • 26. EcosystemsLevels of organisation within an ecosystem• recognise the different levels of organisation fromindividual organisms to the whole ecosystem• the components of an ecosystem• describe abiotic and biotic factors that affectcommunities• explain the importance of interdependence andcompetition in a community.
    • 27. Pyramids of biomass and transfer through trophiclevels• recognise trophic levels• describe pyramids of biomass and deduce thesources of the loss of biomass between them• calculate the efficiency of energy transfersbetween trophic levels.
    • 28. Biodiversity• carry out an investigation into the distributionand abundance of organisms in an ecosystem anddetermine their numbers in a given area• explain what is meant by biodiversity and discussthe challenges• recognise both positive and negative humaninteractions with ecosystems and their impact onbiodiversity• discuss benefits of maintaining local and globalbiodiversity.
    • 29. Task – report backAre we confident that sustainability has stayingpower in the school curriculum?Yes < - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -> NoExplain.
    • 30. We need to know more about…• how to link transmissive with transformativelearning;• the ways in which geography teachers build uptheir own conceptions of ESD;• how to connect whole school approaches toESD with curriculum-based approaches toESD;
    • 31. and…• the role of leadership in promoting ESD withinthe geography department and across theschool;• how pupils feel about ESD in geography andwhat they want to know; and• ways of developing ESD as an overarchingframe of mind.Maggie Smith (2013)
    • 32. Implications forprimary geography practice1. Pupils come to school with experience, knowledge,understanding and concerns.2. Pupils don’t learn what teachers teach.3. Pupils are reluctant to absorb other people’spreoccupations and prejudices.4. Pupils never respond well to pessimism and tales oflooming disaster and dread.5. Pupils are not there to cure their parents’ bad habits.6. Pupils rarely judge school in terms of how relevant thecontent is.7. Pupils cannot fully develop social and citizenly skills untilthey can practise them for real.Bill Scott (2013)
    • 33.
    • 34.
    • 35. References• See the ‘notes’ section below each slide for webreferences• Key documentation for sustainability here