Wow – months go by very quickly when you’re not looking!
Today I was very lucky to be invited to the Open Universities Rediscovering School Geographies Workshop. The iea of the day was to get academic geographers, geography educators and school teachers in order to debate the state of school geography in the UK.
There were excellent presentations by John Morgan and David Lambert. The key message, which ran through the whole day, is that we rarely pause to consider WHAT we teach. Sure, I am always involved in conversations focussed on HOW to teach but when was the last ti you asked your department to justify the inclusion of something new?
Reflecting on my own experiences, the ‘what’ question was never considered during Teacher Training. Judgments about my reaching are made by non-specialists who worry about the structure and pace of my lessons but rarely the accuracy, relevance or interest of the content. I wonder if this era of accountability has almost destroyed curriculum development and risk taking – can we afford to gt it wrong? I think we can and should be taking risks – otherwise how do we progress?
Two panels then followed a nice lunch of fish where I was lucky to finally meet Noel Jenkins, Tony Cassidy and Adam Lawson. We all presented a short piece on developments. My notes are available here on what I said. I have to point out that the last 5 months have radically altered my outlook on geography education. I now have the point of view from the ‘lost’ departments after taking over one in January.
The second panel was made up from OU academic geographers. I have to say that there is a wealth of research out there that could easily be used within classrooms!