Reflective Practice in Geography Teaching


Edited by: Ashley Kent

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    This book is unashamedly directed at the experienced teacher of geography in secondary (high) schools. It attempts to be novel, refreshing, informative and challenging, but above all to encourage reflection by experienced practitioners. It is intended to be both a constructive support and basis for continuing professional development (INSET) in and beyond school and a resource helping to develop critical and reflective qualities associated with a higher degree, particularly at MA level.

    Its origins lie with the well established MA Geography in Education course at the Institute of Education University of London. That course's objectives could well be the objectives of this volume:

    • to introduce and encourage a critical understanding of the literature and concepts of geography education;
    • to help stimulate interest and enjoyment so that teachers continue with personal and professional development beyond the course (book);
    • to contribute to the development of autonomous, reflectively thinking individuals, capable of taking a leading role in education, most often but not always in geography education;
    • to provide professionally relevant knowledge, understanding, skills and values.

    Traditionally that MA course has only been available to those able to attend regular sessions at the Institute. This volume widens access to the essence of that course to those living at a distance. For instance, it will support those students who engage in the Institute's MA in its distance learning mode (to be available from 2001 onwards).

    The authors are ‘friends’ of the Institute in a wide sense. In other words they are either present or former members of staff and students or have some professional link with the Institute.

    It does seem to this writer that given that the National Curriculum in England and Wales has settled down there is a real opportunity for teachers of geography to exercise professional judgement and autonomy and boost the quality and popularity of geography taught in schools. It is the modest hope of this editor that this book will help to achieve those objectives. Much is contextualised within the English system but it is felt that geography educators in the English-speaking world will be able to benefit from themes of wide-ranging currency and applicability.

    Dr Ashley Kent, London, April 2000

    The Contributors

    David Balderstone is a Lecturer in Geography Education and PGCE Subject Leader for Geography at the Institute of Education, University of London. He taught geography for 13 years at a large comprehensive school in Bedfordshire, where he was also a Senior Teacher and Head of Geography. He is a co-author of Learning to Teach Geography in the Secondary School and a number of school geography textbooks. His research interests are in pedagogy in geography education, assessment and raising student achievement in geography.

    Nicola Bright teaches at Putney High School for Girls. She has taught for nine years in a variety of schools in and around London. She completed her MA in Geography Education at the Institute of Education, University of London in 1999. The title of her dissertation was ‘The implementation of a curricular development: thinking skills in geography’. Having also been involved in a SCITT scheme, she is interested in the way that new experiences affect professional development.

    Shaun Brown is Head of Geography at Forest School, Walthamstow, having previously taught at Elliott School, Putney and The Judd School, Tonbridge. Presently, he is completing an MA in Geography Education at the Institute of Education, University of London, and has taken a particular interest in the divide between geography in schools and universities.

    Charlie Carpenter has taught for a number of years in two London comprehensive schools. A former Head of Year and subsequently Head of Humanities, he is now an Advanced Skills Teacher. His particular interest lies in developing the use of ICT in the geography curriculum. He is currently working with a group of schools in Australia on the development of a virtual classroom link. He is also at present conducting a research programme into underachievement among boys.

    Joanne Clark is a secondary level geography teacher specialising in A-level and concentrating on sixth form issues. In 1999 she successfully completed her MA in Geography Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. Her dissertation title was ‘A study to review progress in the renaissance of geographical education in the USA. She is now working in the USA on geography education, textbook and resource development.

    Rod Gerber is Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Education, Health and Professional Studies at the University of New England, Armidale, Australia. Rod is currently Chair of the IGU's Commission on Geographical Education and a member of the Australian National Committee for Geography. He is co-editor of the journal International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education. Rod has written widely in the field of geographical education both for teachers and school students. He has lectured at a wide range of international conferences on geographical education.

    Andrew S. Goudie is Professor at the School of Geography, University of Oxford. Andrew is a geomorphologist who has worked extensively in deserts, and has interests in climatic change, human impact, weathering and aeolian landforms.

    Norman Graves has taught in grammar, technical and comprehensive schools. He was also Lecturer in Education at the University of Liverpool; Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor at the Institute of Education, University of London; chairman of the IGU Commission on Geographical Education 1972–80; and President of the Geographical Association 1978–79. He is the author of such books as Geography in Education, Curriculum Planning in Geography and The Education Crisis. He was editor and contributor to the UNESCO Geography Source Book on Geography Teaching and New Movements in the Teaching of Geography.

    Alan Hudson is a Research Fellow in International Political Economy at the Open University where he is looking at issues of global governance, specifically the role of non-governmental organisations and international institutions. Alan is a political economist who worked at the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge for four years before moving to the Open University in 2000. He has published articles about globalisation, sovereignty, borders and offshore finance in journals such as the Review of International Political Economy, Political Geography and Geopolitics.

    Peter Jackson is Professor of Human Geography at the Department of Geography, University of Sheffield. His research focuses on the relationship between consumption and identity and on the geographies of race and racism. Recent projects include an ESRC-funded study of the production, content and readership of men's lifestyle magazines and a study of commodity culture and South Asian transnationality. His publications include Maps of Meaning (Routledge, 1992), Constructions of Race, Place and Nation (UCL Press, 1993) and Shopping, Place and Identity (Routledge, 1998).

    Stephanie Jackson is currently a Research Officer for two European projects and the Earth Science Technology Centre (ESTC) tutor at the Institute of Education, University of London. Both research projects involve innovative uses of ICT in geography classrooms across Europe. She is interested in ICT and geography education, and is currently working on a PhD within this area of research. Her particular interest is the use of the Internet for on-line cooperative learning.

    Ashley Kent is Reader in Education and Head of Geography and the Education, Environment and Economy Group at the Institute of Education, University of London. Having taught in secondary schools he became Associate Director of the Geography 16–19 Project. He is a long-standing member of the Geographical Association and was President in 1996–97. He is an active member of the International Geographical Union Commission on Geography Education. He has written widely on geographical education.

    Sheila King is Director of Training Partnerships at the Institute of Education, University of London since 1992. Prior to this she taught geography in a variety of schools and was head of humanities in one of the largest secondary schools in west London. Sheila is also a practising OFSTED inspector. She has particular interests in the use of ICT in geography teaching, in classroom observation and in thinking skills. Sheila has written at an academic level and also school textbooks BBC Bitesize and Geography to 14.

    David Lambert is a Reader in Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. David was a comprehensive school teacher for twelve years before embarking on his present career at the Institute of Education. He is involved in initial teacher education and training and currently leads the Geography in Education Masters degree course. He has written widely on curriculum, pedagogy and assessment in geography education. He has co-authored, with David Balderstone, Learning to Teach Geography and with David Lines, Understanding Assessment.

    Ian Langrish is Head of Geography at Tiffin School for Boys, Kingston upon Thames. Ian is currently in his seventeenth year of secondary teaching, and has led his departmental team for the last thirteen years. He has been regularly involved in the Geography PGCE in partnership with the Institute of Education, University of London. Particular professional interest areas include developing able pupils to achieve their maximum potential; A-level fieldwork; urban planning and change in urban environments; and the rural–urban fringe.

    David Leat is Senior Lecturer in Education and PGCE Geography Tutor at the Department of Education, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. David is coordinator of the Thinking Through Geography Group, an alliance of geography teachers and HE staff involved in research, curriculum development and initial and in-service training. He is also a part of the Thinking Skills Research Group at Newcastle University which works in partnership with local primary and secondary schools in researching and implementing Teaching Thinking across the curriculum.

    Adrian McDonald is Professor at the School of Geography, University of Leeds. Adrian was the first graduate in Ecological Science from the University of Edinburgh in 1969. He thereafter worked on risk management and moved into Geography in the early 1970s. Adrian McDonald's main interests are in environmental management with a particular interest in the management of natural resources – water, forests, energy and wild-lands – and has been a consultant in both the UK and abroad to a variety of agencies, companies and governments.

    Paul Machon is Senior Director of Studies at Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College, Leicester. Paul has been teaching for some thirty years, in a number of subject areas but particularly in Geography, Politics and Sociology. The boundaries and common ground between disciplines is of interest to him. Research interests include the Holocaust, housing policy and post-16 educational issues. He has written in these and other areas, including the place of citizenship in the social sciences, including geography.

    Julian Mayes is joint convener of the Environment, Resources and Geographical Studies degree programmes at the University of Surrey Roehampton in south-west London (formerly Roehampton Institute London). His research interests include the geography of recent and future climatic change in Europe – particularly within the British Isles and the Maltese Islands and the implications of these changes for the study of geography. He is co-editor of a 1997 Routledge text, Regional Climates of the British Isles.

    John Morgan is a Lecturer in Geography Education at the Institute of Education, University of London and taught geography and politics in schools and colleges in London from 1988 to 1998. He completed his PhD on ‘Postmodernism and School Geography’ in 1998. He is currently working on a Leverhulme Trust funded project on developments in geography and education. His research interests include social and cultural geography, critical pedagogy, the geographies of young people and the politics of the curriculum.

    Brendan Murphy is a teacher of Geography and Coordinator for Personal and Social Education at the Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School, Sidcup, Kent. Brendan has taught geography and history at Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School for the past ten years, having previously taught geography at schools in Liverpool and Lancashire. He has recently researched the values underlying geography textbooks at GCSE for his MA at the Institute of Education, University of London.

    Eleanor Rawling is Professional Subject Officer (Geography) with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) London. During 1999–2000, she was also a Leverhulme Research Fellow and Honorary Research Associate at the University of Oxford, examining the politics and practicalities of recent curriculum change in geography. Eleanor was President of the Geographical Association in 1991–92 and chair of the Council of British Geography in 1993–95, and was awarded an MBE for services to geographical education in 1995.

    Margaret Roberts is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of Sheffield. She is responsible for coordinating the geography PGCE course, and through her PGCE work with students and mentors she is involved with classroom practice. Her research interests include the interpretation of the geography National Curriculum in schools, ‘geographical enquiry’ and language and learning.

    Maggie Smith is Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of the West of England where she teaches on the PGCE course. Her current research interests include environmental education at primary and secondary level, and the primary–secondary and secondary–tertiary interfaces in education. She has contributed to a number of publications including, most recently, the GA Guidance Series and support material for beginning and experienced teachers in the humanities.

    Derek Spooner is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography at the University of Hull, where he was formerly Head of Department. He has been Visiting Professor at the Universities of Maryland and West Virginia. For six years he was Editor of Geography, the journal of the Geographical Association, of which he is President in the year 2000–1. He is also the author of numerous publications on the geographies of mining, energy and regional economic development.

    Joseph P. Stoltman is Professor of Geography at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. He has served as Chair and as a full member of the Commission on Geographical Education of the International Geographical Union (IGU), and is president elect of the Social Sciences Education Consortium (SSEC). He has received the George J. Miller Award for Outstanding Service from the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE). He is a graduate of the Central Washington University, the University of Chicago and the University of Georgia.

    Helen Walkington is a Lecturer in Geography Education at the University of Reading. Prior to this she taught Geography in a rural secondary school in Zimbabwe with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). Her current research interest concerns the teaching strategies which contribute to participatory, collaborative learning. This interest has been focused more recently upon Geography Education and Global Citizenship Education practice in primary schools and collaborative fieldwork in higher education.

    Deryn M. Watson is Professor of Information Technologies and Education, School of Education, King's College, University of London. After teaching Geography in London schools, Deryn was involved during the 1980s in the research and development of computer-assisted learning materials in the humanities and languages. Her current research and lecturing interests include issues which influence the take-up and use of IT in schools, institutional policies and practices for IT, and teachers' responses to innovation and change through IT.

    Geraldene Wharton is a Lecturer in Physical Geography and Environmental Science at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research interests are in flood estimation and river management. She has served as Secretary of the Geography Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1994–98) and represented the BA on the Council of British Geography. In 1999 she was elected onto the Council of the RGS (with IBG) as Honorary Secretary Education Division

    Michael Williams is Emeritus Professor and formerly Dean of the Faculty of Education and Health Studies and Head of the Department of Education at the University of Wales Swansea. He has directed research and evaluation projects in geographical education, in-service teacher training and lifelong learning. His most recent edited books are Geographical and Environmental Education: The Role of Research (Cassell, 1996) and, with Daniella Tilbury, Teaching and Learning Geography (Routledge, 1997). He is Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Education.

    Peter Wood is Professor and Head of the Department of Geography, University College London. Peter is a specialist on contemporary business service change and its implications for the restructuring of British and European regions. As well as a wide range of teaching experience in human and economic geography, he has been Schools Admissions Tutor in Geography. He has contributed to textbooks on economic geography and London, and written on curriculum innovation in higher education.

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