Placing Geography


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Placing Geography

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Placing Geography

  1. 1. Placing Geography A QCA perspective on 3 – 19 geography Eleanor Rawling – QCA Adviser for Geography March 2005
  2. 2. A geographical perspective is essential…. <ul><li>… .for life in the 21st century </li></ul><ul><li>Global environmental change / sustainable development </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural and ethnic diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Social and economic change impacting on lives </li></ul><ul><li>Population – immigration / emigration, refugees </li></ul><ul><li>Conflict over resources, geopolitics, imperialisms </li></ul><ul><li>Identity, community, nationality </li></ul><ul><li>Technological change and consequences </li></ul>
  3. 3. Lost in place and space…..? Making the case for geographic education entitlement: “ our social, political and economic orientation completely obscures where we are geographically.” we are “victims of disorientation.” Will Self – PsychoGeography “ People of all ages need to learn to negotiate with others in and about places all their lives.” Doreen Massey
  4. 4. Growing recognition at national level <ul><li>Subject Specialism - March 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>Geography Development Fund – 2003 onwards </li></ul><ul><li>Secretary of State’s Geography Focus Group – autumn 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Possibility of a National Strategy and a National Adviser for geography </li></ul><ul><li>QCA monitoring report (2003 – 04) “the beginnings of a more positive phase in school geography” </li></ul><ul><li>Connections being made “public concerns” and “relevance of geography” </li></ul>
  5. 5. Good news in schools <ul><li>Geography popular with young people (despite falling numbers) </li></ul><ul><li>Major contributor to citizenship, ESD, local links </li></ul><ul><li>Geography departments frequently innovate with ICT </li></ul><ul><li>“ the world around us” – is a motivating and well used context for 3 – 7 year olds </li></ul><ul><li>Quality of teaching, standards of achievement high 14 – 19 (eg GCSE 62.7% A* - C cf. national average 59.2%) </li></ul><ul><li>Impressive support from subject associations/others </li></ul>
  6. 6. Problems communicating and building on this…. <ul><li>Poor public image – especially in the media </li></ul><ul><li>Low status (or near invisibility) in some primary schools </li></ul><ul><li>Poor quality teaching in some KS1 – 3 classrooms (Ofsted press release) </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of subject expertise and CPD (KS1-3) </li></ul><ul><li>Outdated “tired” curriculum frameworks </li></ul>
  7. 7. The image: Teachers <ul><ul><ul><li>‘ You teach ******* geography, probably </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the most tedious subject in the history </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>of subjects, historically taught by the </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>most tedious ******* teachers. You’re </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>supposed to be boring. Live with it.’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>(Kurt to Brian, the PE/geography teacher, </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers, 20 Aug 2003 ) </li></ul>
  8. 8. What can we do? <ul><li>Address the immediate problems </li></ul><ul><li>QCA – support and guidance via National Curriculum in Action, Schemes of Work, Innovating with Geography website etc…. </li></ul><ul><li>GA + RGS-IBG support and projects, such as GCSE pilot support, GA journals/publications, RGS-IBG Geography in the News, CPD conferences </li></ul><ul><li>Subject community campaign to “change the image” </li></ul>
  9. 9. What can we do? <ul><li>Lever some change into the existing structures / system </li></ul><ul><li>QCA – pilot GCSE, Assessment Project, White Paper remit for 14 – 19 work, Key Stage 3 Review, Innovating with Geography website </li></ul><ul><li>GA and RGS-IBG – Geovisions and Valuing Places, Progression study, Geography in the Community </li></ul>
  10. 10. GCSE Geography pilot: key features <ul><li>The new course : </li></ul><ul><li>Comprises a core (half a GCSE – a GCSE Short Course) plus two optional units (along academic -> vocational continuum) </li></ul><ul><li>Geography for global citizenship and reflects ‘newer geography’ </li></ul><ul><li>Active experiential learning </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment 33% external 67% internal and teacher assessment is a feature in two optional units </li></ul><ul><li>Core content: 3 themes; My Place in UK and Wider World; An Extreme Environment; People as Consumers </li></ul>
  11. 11. GCSE Pilot: Opportunities for Teachers <ul><li>To draw on new aspects of the subject </li></ul><ul><li>To focus on active teaching/learning </li></ul><ul><li>To be creative and flexible in planning own course </li></ul><ul><li>To work with other teachers/schools and make links with HE geographers and local community </li></ul><ul><li>i.e. school-based curriculum development </li></ul>
  12. 12. 14 – 19 White Paper – immediate impact <ul><li>Review KS3 curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>- including improve geography curriculum – concepts, flexibility, choice </li></ul><ul><li>Immediate changes to GCSE and A Level </li></ul><ul><li>GCSE - including review coursework and reduce assessment burden, consider impact of pilots </li></ul><ul><li>A/AS - increase “stretch” for most able, extended project, reduce assessment burden (6 to 4 units) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Issues raised by 1 and 2 <ul><li>Curriculum development infrastructure no longer exists – time / resources / opportunity / stimuli </li></ul><ul><li>Curriculum planning and school-based curriculum development are “lost arts” </li></ul><ul><li>Subject based professional development is inadequate </li></ul><ul><li>The “mood music” is all wrong </li></ul>
  14. 14. Problems in… “ making things happen” “moving debate on” <ul><li>Are we stuck in an inappropriate culture and language? </li></ul><ul><li>Subjects as discrete and hierarchical building blocks (English and mathematics untouchable at the top) </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on outcomes and performance (targets, qualifications) rather than on curriculum inputs, quality of experience </li></ul><ul><li>Managerial and technical solutions (training booklets grading software) rather than professional and creative ones </li></ul><ul><li>Simplistic quick fixes for political ends (6 units down to 4 at A level, catch-up classes at KS3 </li></ul>
  15. 15. What can we do? <ul><li>Change the culture and the system </li></ul><ul><li>QCA – Futures project (Tomlinson –missed opportunity?) </li></ul><ul><li>Subject Associations working with QCA at national level via Geography Development Fund, Geography Focus Group and dialogue with DfES and ministers </li></ul><ul><li>Others – eg. Nuffield 14 – 19 Review </li></ul>
  16. 16. QCA Futures : Meeting the Challenge <ul><li>QCA futures team to lead and drive a change of vision and a modernising agenda. Aim to </li></ul><ul><li>Lead the national debate about the curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Inform current initiatives and influence immediate changes </li></ul><ul><li>Inform future policy directions </li></ul><ul><li>Raise the profile of QCA as an agent of change and centre of subject expertise </li></ul>
  17. 17. Future thinking “ Education only flourishes if it successfully adapts to the demands and needs of the time…The curriculum cannot remain static. It must be responsive to changes in society and the economy, and changes in the nature of schooling itself.” National Curriculum 1999 “ All education springs from images of the future and all education creates images of the future. …… Unless we understand the future for which we are preparing, we do tragic damage to those we teach” Alvin Toffler, Learning for Tomorrow
  18. 18. QCA Futures:The Challenge <ul><li>Forces for Change </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in society and the nature of work & implications for learning </li></ul><ul><li>The impact of technology on the nature of subject and schooling </li></ul><ul><li>New understandings about learning & the “learning to learn” agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Greater personalisation of public services and curriculum innovation </li></ul><ul><li>The increasing international/global dimension to learning </li></ul><ul><li>The Challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Consider what the forces for curriculum change mean in relation to subjects / areas of learning </li></ul>
  19. 19. Futures : Geography <ul><li>Subject seminar January 24 th 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Suggested an agenda for action – subjects as educational resources for an aims-led curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Suggested some “big ideas” as one element of geography’s distinctive contribution </li></ul>
  20. 20. Futures: Agenda for action <ul><li>Need a small number of overarching aims to summarise the dynamic and forward looking nature of the whole curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Subjects consider distinctive contribution to such a curriculum (ie what will be missing from the curriculum if the subject did not exist) </li></ul><ul><li>Then develop broad aims and a broad framework (encapsulating the subject’s contribution via key concepts/skill/experiences) from which courses can be developed for different age groups </li></ul><ul><li>Subject framework needs be minimal/flexible to enable teachers to ‘make the curriculum’–with support, time to facilitate such SBCD </li></ul><ul><li>Subject specialism and scholarship - are more, not less, important in this process, so school/university dialogue needs strengthening </li></ul>
  21. 21. Futures Geography: Draft Key Concepts <ul><ul><ul><li>Geographical imagination </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Spatial awareness </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Interdependence </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Scale and scale linkages </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Environmental interaction </li></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Nuffield 14 – 19 Review “ The 14 – 19 landscape is cluttered with policy initiatives…….The time is ripe, therefore, for the Nuffield Foundation to launch a thorough and independent review of every aspect of these changes, to ask searching questions and examine what they mean for learners, and in the light of available evidence, to make recommendations.” Nuffield 14 – 19 Review Annual Report 2003 - 04
  23. 23. For geography,’futures’ thinking means…… <ul><li>Clarity about what the subject can offer to a future curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Clarity about the appropriate relationship between the state, schools and the subject community </li></ul><ul><li>Willingness to liaise with other subjects “to make the curriculum bigger than the sum of its parts” (Christine Counsell) </li></ul><ul><li>Readiness to guard subject scholarship and subject specialism </li></ul><ul><li>Commitment to enthusing students, policy makers and the public about geography </li></ul>
  24. 24. Curriculum Development - subjects The State Sets out broad aims, a minimal national curriculum and assessment framework and sufficient resources to support schools and teachers The Subject Community Maintains and develops the subject and ensures a lively, effective contribution to all stages of education The schools / teachers Translate the broad aims and national frameworks as appropriate to the the pupils and community (SBCD)