November 2010 SSAT Presentation


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SSAT Conference Session for a video of David Lambert in action...

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  • The idea that a sense of awe and wonder is a powerful stimulus to learning is a familiar one.
  • Talking about the concepts of place, identity and home is of course fraught with controversies, ambiguities and complexities. But rather then sweeping the issues under the carpet, I believe that such difficulties actually suggest that these concepts be approached in the spirit of open and thoughtful discussion. In particular, we must avoid the unhelpful platitudes that are often put forward for or against these concepts by all sides of the political spectrum.

    In these times when the far right acquires popularity once more, we cannot afford to leave these issues unaddressed.
  • November 2010 SSAT Presentation

    1. 1. Is there a crisis for subjects? David Lambert 2 A Different View
    2. 2. The World Subject 3
    3. 3. Beginning in wonder 4
    4. 4. Tackling complexity: place, identity, context 5
    5. 5. 6
    6. 6. Remarkably enduring images • of teachers • of classrooms • of subjects Are subjects nineteenth century creations? 7
    7. 7. QCA 2004 “The UK has moved from a manufacturing economy to a service and knowledge-based economy. In an increasingly technological world, jobs migrate ... In an uncertain future (we need people who are) flexible and equipped to learn and adapt ...”
    8. 8. OECD (on ‘21st century skills’) “ ... for jobs that have not yet been created, using technologies that have not yet been invented to solve problems that cannot be foreseen”
    9. 9. Mick Waters (2010) “A school shouldn’t start with curriculum content. It should start with designing a learning experience and then check it has met national curriculum requirements.”
    10. 10. The neo-liberal orthodoxy has “dulled our ability to think for, or beyond, ourselves” [Wadley 2008]
    11. 11. Academic arguments What’s The Point of School? “The only time my education was interrupted was while I was at school” This quote is ascribed to Winston Churchill by Guy Claxton It is a fashionable view, but is potentially damaging
    12. 12. “The purpose of education is to prepare young people for the future. Schools should be helping young people to develop the capacities they will need to thrive. What they need, and want, is the confidence to talk to strangers, to try things out, to handle tricky situations, to stand up for themselves, to ask for help, to think new thoughts”.
    13. 13. “That is not too much to ask – it is every young person’s basic educational entitlement. But they are not getting it”.
    14. 14. There is no evidence that being able to solve simultaneous equations, or discuss the plot of Hamlet, equips young people to deal with life. We have lazily assumed that, somehow, it must do, but research shows that even successful students are often left timid and unsettled when they step outside the narrow comfort zones of their academic success.
    15. 15. Summary There is much to take from Claxton’s idea of building learning power He reminds us of the broader purposes of education But is there a danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water?
    16. 16. More Arguments “There is no point in hanging on to a curriculum that may have suited ... the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries but needs radical reshaping today” This is the philosopher John White
    17. 17. White goes on “(QCDA) are devising ways of encouraging the subjects to see themselves more as servants of the aims than as self-contained worlds of their own”
    18. 18. Summary Again, White reminds us of broader aims of education But again, appears to undermine subject disciplines (as old fashioned)
    19. 19. Counter Arguments Must avoid: – Swinging pendulums and false dichotomies • Knowledge versus skills • Curriculum versus pedagogy – Defending subject knowledge/expertise Must promote: – Teachers as ‘boundary workers’ – Subject disciplines as resources – An evolving theory of knowledge
    20. 20. “Bringing Knowledge Back In” (Michael Young) • Schools are special places (they are not ‘everyday places’) • Inducting young people into ‘powerful knowledge’ (not simply the knowledge of the powerful) • Clear distinction between curriculum and pedagogy
    21. 21. 22
    22. 22. Manifesto Section 2 Thinking geographically “An essential educational outcome of learning geography is to be able to apply knowledge and conceptual understanding to new settings: that is, to ‘think geographically’ about the changing world”.
    23. 23. . • “ “Vocabulary” This is a metaphor for Core Knowledge “Grammar” This is a metaphor for conceptual understanding
    24. 24. . • “ “Capability” In geography, ‘capability’ is enhanced through: • Acquisition and development of ‘world knowledge’ (this may be equated with ‘core knowledge’, or essential and enabling knowledge • Development of ‘inter-relational understanding’ – the basis of grasping global interdependence (captured by Massey’s concept of a ‘global sense of place’) • Enhanced propensity to think, through ‘decision making’ and other applied pedagogic activities, about how places, societies and environments are made
    25. 25. Identity Who am I? Where am I from? Who is my ‘family’? What is their story? And the people around me? Society Who decides on who gets what, where and why? What is fair? Why care?
    26. 26. The physical environment What is the world (and this place) made of? Why do things move? What becomes of things? Our place in the world Where do I live? How does it look? How is it changing? How might it become?
    27. 27. 28
    28. 28. Student Experiences Geography: the subjectTeacher Choices Underpinned by Key Concepts Thinking Geographically Learning Activity How does this take the learner beyond what they already know? Curriculum Making 29
    29. 29. Why geography in school matters Geography underpins a lifelong ‘conversation’ about the earth as the home of humankind • Geography fascinates and inspires: geographical investigation both satisfies and nourishes curiosity • Geography deepens understanding: many contemporary challenges – climate change, food security, energy choices – cannot be understood without a geographical perspective • Thinking and decision-making with geography help us to live our lives as knowledgeable citizens, aware of our own local communities in a global setting • Geographers are skilful: using maps and images of people and place, numerical data and modes of communication and getting to grips with the geographic information systems that underpin our lives, make geographers skilful and employable. Source: the GA Manifesto A Different View (