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@RGS_IBG Update Me: Creative Approaches to Inspirational Geography. Course Resources

2014-07-08 11.41.10

It’s always good to receive feedback comments like this.  Over the last month I’ve run the ‘Update Me’ sessions for the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London and Nottingham.  The resources used are embedded below.  Regular readers will find some classics in there as well as some updated ideas.  Whilst some say that there’s nothing new, I believe that revisiting and reinforcing simple yet effective ideas is paramount.  For example, the two sessions were attended by over fifty geography teachers, none of whom were aware of the Ordnance Survey Map layer available for free through Bing maps.  The thing is about early adopters is that they often leave everyone else behind.  Also, whilst the curriculum content may have changed, very little has changed in the way of what makes teaching and learning highly successful in classes.

I’m always humbled to speak at the RGS and it’s very cool!  If you download the presentation, you’ll find various links to blog posts that outline the ideas in detail.  The progress wheel is a project in, erm, progress…. I’ll be speaking in more detail about it at TLT14.

Whilst you have to be there for the delivery, and some features of the talk have been taken out, the main messages are below:

  • Get over Gove and get on with it.
  • A strong department vision and commitment to the basics of quality literacy and numeracy are needed to drive inspirational geography.
  • Inspirational geography is built upon simple yet effective ideas that drive sustainable change.
  • Guerrilla Geography goes to the heart of what geography is.  More important than fieldwork is the subject’s unique position to all young people to understand their school and local context and actually change it.  Geographers study people and places so that we may understand the world better, and then change it for the better.
  • Sometimes, some one needs to be prepared to go toe-to-toe with the Head.
  • Inspirational Geography is not about putting Restless Earth around options time or running overseas trips for a minority of students.
  • Inspirational geography is inclusive, challenging and depends on expert teachers with expert subject knowledge.
  • Sometimes, you need to go to the coffee house or pub for a two hour department meeting.
  • Inspirational geography means avoiding the fossilisation of the subject. This means binning older case studies and using ‘floating topicality’ to ensure that the content remains relevant.

As I finished the talk, I’m a geographer because the subject allowed me to understand why the world I grew up in fell apart.  It explained why I had no friends at primary school during the miners strike and that’s why I am passionate about geography education.  The holidays aren’t bad either……


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