SLN Geography Forum

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: Tony Cassidy on September 17, 2011, 08:17:27 PM

Title: You need to read this...
Post by: Tony Cassidy on September 17, 2011, 08:17:27 PM
I think this is the most important blog post that you'll read this year by Alan,

http://goo.gl/UhmY0

and the associated curriculum document by Dr Standish...


Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: HB100 on September 17, 2011, 08:46:32 PM
Jesus Christ.....

- are they for real?

Does it include a class to sew our leather patches back on??

I am sure 13 year olds will be running to lessons based on the 'regional differences of agriculture.....'

And all that in one hour a week.....






Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Geogphotos on September 17, 2011, 09:35:34 PM
It is disgusting Tory geography.

But how long before there is a comment on here saying:

" This will make my job much easier"

It gets to the stage when people have to make a stand.

But I don't see it happening. For most people Geography is just stuff they teach and then check the exam results.

Ian Murray



Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Tony Cassidy on September 17, 2011, 10:19:10 PM
I doubt it Ian. Seems any type of discourse is no longer acceptable. Perhaps I've become a cynic.

It says to me standardised assessment, particularly at the end of KS3.

Helen I agree. I feel very down by all of it. I think we have been stuffed by the exam boards, now this makes upsetting reading.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: HB100 on September 17, 2011, 10:25:47 PM
I hadn't thought of standardised assessment at end of KS3 - if this maniac coalition stay in power education will be screwed for decades.

Yep, after the results debacle this is making me ask big questions about what this job is all about  :-\
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Noel Jenkins on September 17, 2011, 10:49:54 PM
I'm not commenting on the GA website as I can't find the words to express how I feel. For what it's worth I felt that Standish had something to say back in 2003 to those teachers who were perhaps, in their naivety, focussing too much attention on "issues and feelings", though I also found his opinions to be quite insulting.

It's really depressing that his personal vision of a geographical curriculum resonates so strongly with the current government. His claim that "regional geography went out of fashion in the UK with the decline of Empire, and that it's high time it was reintroduced makes me think that throwing out the department copy of Strange People From Distant Lands was premature.

We need academics from Higher Education to come to our aid and join the dialogue. If we're not very careful there will be no students coming through KS4 at all.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Des on September 17, 2011, 11:32:24 PM
Regional geography has more or less disappeared from geography degree programmes in the UK, but it is still quite common in the US where Alex Standish works...which presumably must have influenced his views. Although I do have a bit of a soft spot for regional geography from my student days, I'm inclined to agree with those who fear that its reintroduction has the potential to scare pupils off.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: swhitch on September 17, 2011, 11:39:57 PM
First of all Controlled Assessment and now this ........ seem to recall Dr Standish from the old forum ........ wasn't there quiet a debate that he was involved in on the messageboard around 8 years ago or so? Quickly scanned the 17 pages and it seems rather heavy at first view.

An interesting link between Private schools and IGCSE although many state schools are changing to IGCSE simply to to get away from Controlled Assessment I believe. There is the constant rumour that IGCSE is more rigourous, get hold of copies of the past papers and see for yourself. http://www.cie.org.uk/qualifications/academic/middlesec/igcse/subject?assdef_id=859 

If you want a rigourous curriculum look at some of the Geography textbooks provided by the Kenyan Government - they make your eyes water

You cannot argue about the need for more geography at primary school level though.

Don't know much about Alex Standish so Googled Alex Standish Western Conneticut State University - here is what his Bio states:

Alex Standish, Assistant Professor of Geography, holds a Ph.D. in Geographic Education and Citizenship in American Schools from Rutgers University. His master's dissertation at Canterbury Christ Church University College considered the changing nature of geography education in England. His other research interests include the globalization of culture, political geography and the contemporary dynamics of communities in Western countries.

Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: KML on September 17, 2011, 11:47:36 PM
Absolutely agree with all that's been said so far.

I don't know where this regional geography is coming from... I can tell you now, my students don't want to learn about Turkish culture' and 'landscapes of Russia' as this ridiculous Standish document refers too. Academic Geography doesn't do regional geography anymore - just as the gap between school-based geography and university geography was beginning to close, the Tories try to open it up again.

Look at KS4 - Burgess and Hoyt are back! I love teaching my Edexcel B GCSE with refreshing and comptemporary topics. The old AQA B regional geography spec was the least popular...

I suppose they're going to change the whole style of GCSE assessment to ensure that it's back to regurgitating facts - my 'secondary modern' students are screwed.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: swhitch on September 18, 2011, 12:05:24 AM
Christaller in KS 3  :o ............... ;D ;D ;D ;D     The Y13 don't get it so should be fun with Y7-9 still it is really little more than dot to dot ;D

Can't wait to do exurbs ....... although the proposals for changes to planning laws may mean a rewrite of the textbooks for both these ideas.  ???


Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: missgeo on September 18, 2011, 12:09:57 AM
I whole heartily agree but my students have asked why they don't learn about where countries are and what they are like. It's what they are expecting from geography.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Plene on September 18, 2011, 01:56:46 AM
This makes interesting reading from when he was a graduate researcher in 2003

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/is-geography-brainwashing-596832.html



 
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Geogphotos on September 18, 2011, 09:00:58 AM
Better stock up on the colouring crayons...
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Evlinda on September 18, 2011, 10:26:26 AM
Completely agree- Christaller in yr 7????? WTF??? My yr 12 just about get it. It is so prescriptive. How can they?

Apart from anything else, why do they have to tinker with things ALL the time???? Can't they just leave us alone to actually teach the current curriculum? We are in the last year of rolling through the KS3 changes (have been doing it one yr at a time over 3 years). So are we supposed to change it all again at the drop of a hat?

I'm fed up.

I hate the Tories/coalition. (sorry if i'm not allowed to say that- i will remove if need be.)  :(
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Blue Square Thing on September 18, 2011, 11:04:53 AM
Hey, at least you'll have something left to teach - I think the government thinks ICT is something that kids will come automatically installed with (unfortunately I imagine it's prolly the Vista edition...).

I haven't read this stuff yet, but I will do. Can I check something though - frei skools and academies are free to ignore everything the government says aren't they?
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Noel Jenkins on September 18, 2011, 11:31:53 AM

I haven't read this stuff yet, but I will do. Can I check something though - frei skools and academies are free to ignore everything the government says aren't they?

Yes but think about the impact on the GCSE exams!
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: gilmoregirl on September 18, 2011, 11:45:29 AM
If this comes to pass then I may rethink my position completely and look for pastures new. This will not make me or my pupils happy.

What have all of us on here been doing for the past 5+ years creating amazing stuff and imo the best subject available in schools if we have to go back 30 years and become the 'joke' colouring in lesson again.

Just stated looking at the doc and it seems that environmental geography has disappeared, have the ice caps stopped melting and climate change vanished and i missed it???  ???
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: michelle on September 18, 2011, 12:12:08 PM
Is it that bad?
I have to say most of my students are keen to learn about different countries particularily "random" ones. In NI our curriculum is very open and there is lots of opportunity to leave our schemes and take off on little adventures in the classroom- the students are always really keen to learn about life in Laos for example.
I guess the difference here is that we choose what we want to study rather than being dictated to.........
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Geogphotos on September 18, 2011, 12:37:15 PM
What is bad is that it is a complete 'blue-wash' curriculum overloaded with content to keep the little buggers busy - stuff that can be tested, knowledge, locations, how much, how many, definitions, no need to explore values or different viewpoints, nothing that is problematic in case it seems 'political'.

Nothing about deforestation of rainforests, global warming, Fair Trade, eutrophication, colonialism etc etc - anything that might prove controversial or provoke discussion/thought/criticism has been cut and replaced by 'safe' factual content about how things are manufactured and how farming produces our food ( thank you Mr Farmer - what was your CAP payment this year?), dams as great feats of engineering, new crops as great feats of new science. All these countries trying desperately to be capitalist success models like us - if only they pulled their socks up a bit and paid attention.

I thought that the current government thinking was to give teachers and schools freedom and independence.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: swhitch on September 18, 2011, 12:44:24 PM
Where are the English Universities in this, as this is a proposed new curriculum for England  ...... is there no one in an English University Geography department who wants to have a say?

Since when has the education of the nation depended upon the unchallenged views of a single individual?

Where does it all leave IGCSE? No change we hope.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Geogphotos on September 18, 2011, 12:48:43 PM
The GA proposals are here:

http://geography.org.uk/download/GA_GIGCCCurriculumProposals.pdf
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: edge on September 18, 2011, 03:21:26 PM
So, let me get this right, according to Standish, students not choosing to continue geography to KS4 will have no idea about some of the major areas in the world today - USA, China etc. because his model says we do those at GCSE.  Hmmm...

Did environmental geography do something wrong?  Perhaps students expressing opinions over issues is unacceptable?  Or perhaps it is harder to test!?

Whilst I agree we should have high expectations of pupils, Standish suggests state schools and private schools should have the same expectations - absolutely, but I teach classes of 32 - show me a private school that does that!  My expectations for my pupils are extremely high (and the FFT and ALIS targets are often higher!) but lets be realistic - the two situations are not comparable.  Grrr...

Emma Johns
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Noel Jenkins on September 18, 2011, 04:31:29 PM
Where are the English Universities in this, as this is a proposed new curriculum for England  ...... is there no one in an English University Geography department who wants to have a say?

Since when has the education of the nation depended upon the unchallenged views of a single individual?

Where does it all leave IGCSE? No change we hope.

I've taken the liberty of contacting over 2,000 lecturers via the Crit Geog list. There are some like Tim Hall and Jo Norcup who are sympathetic. I'll pass on any feedback I get. Presumably the GA establishment figures are working like crazy behind the scenes.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Simon on September 18, 2011, 05:04:30 PM
Just discovered this... Shocking.

Well, we knew this was coming but I naively didn't anticipate it being quite so uninspiring and prescriptive. Did he not understand the brief? Frankly, it looks awful.

All the work that departments have done on curriculum making, and having the freedom to design a coherent curriculum... To take that away from us is beyond the pale. 


I will not be able to get out of bed tomorrow unless I feel like I'm doing something about this. As a subject community, we can't take this lying down.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: KML on September 18, 2011, 05:13:50 PM
I'd like to say 'Ignore it' but unfortunately it will all be designed to lead into the GCSE exams - they'll be crafty like that.

Surely the Government aren't going to have the Geography curriculum written by some American academic????? Then again with this lot...  :(
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Noel Jenkins on September 18, 2011, 05:40:37 PM
I predict a #geographyriot
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Des on September 18, 2011, 05:41:27 PM
Surely the Government aren't going to have the Geography curriculum written by some American academic????? Then again with this lot...  :(

At the risk of being pedantic, Alex Standish is a British academic working in the U.S. But the point is still a good one; American degree programmes still include plenty of regional geography, and some of the physical geography specialisms you'd expect to see in British Geography degree programmes are more typically found in geology programmes. In other words, the remit of Geography in the US differs somewhat from that in this country, at least in H.E.. Given these differences, I have some reservations about both the process and outcome so far.

Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: KTW on September 18, 2011, 06:10:36 PM
What strikes me as bonkers and totally unworkable is the progression through the key stages from the UK (KS1) to Europe (KS2) to some parts of the world eg Africa (KS3) and the other parts eg Americas (KS4) - so does that mean we shouldn't teach about the UK to our KS3 students, or about Africa at GCSE?!! Oh no - what if primary schools don't do their bit?!! And what about those who don't take it for GCSE - they may never get to know about the USA!!!! Lordy Lord, chaos will reign!!!!

We teach small fab topics at KS3 and have spent the whole of the last 2 years reinvigorating and reintroducing these and writing new SoW eg War and Conflict, RRR, Global Issues, The Underworld - not to mention the fact we're still trying to sort out our GCSE course (have switched a couple of topics already in the last couple of years). PLEASE let us have 2-3 years where we don't have to change anything else!!!!!!
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Geogphotos on September 18, 2011, 06:24:40 PM
Is there anything on planning, conservation, greenfield/brownfield, housing?
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Blue Square Thing on September 18, 2011, 07:41:29 PM

I haven't read this stuff yet, but I will do. Can I check something though - frei skools and academies are free to ignore everything the government says aren't they?

Yes but think about the impact on the GCSE exams!

My assumption was this was KS3 only - but I'll not have time to read it for a while yet so don't shoot me yet :-)
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Blue Square Thing on September 18, 2011, 07:43:01 PM
I predict a #geographyriot

If I could lay me hands on a tank I'd be down Tooting high street quicker than rat into parliament...

(btw, is there a rude word filter on this version of the forum? I have few choice ones usually reserved for football matches that I could use...)
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: HB100 on September 18, 2011, 08:14:23 PM
Is there anywhere we can make our feelings clear?
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: swhitch on September 18, 2011, 08:32:15 PM
Kate W. - spot on on the progression it is crazy to have these stand alone units of "regional geography" but as others have identified it does make testing things easier - end of unit test after end of unit test. All measurable and all there as sticks to beat teachers with.

It does seem a shame that all the excellent work and freeing up of teaching of this glorious subject seems to be being withdrawn if this (and it is only a proposal) proposal comes into force. Interesting that Alex Standish uses the quote "In the words of the great American geographer Edward Ackerman ‘The goal of Geography is nothing less than an understanding of the vast interacting system comprising all humanity and its natural environment on the surface of the Earth. yet then seems to lack an ability to develop something that reflects this "vast interacting system" by replacing it with stand-alone and unitegrated units without apparent progression ...... maybe if I read it further and in more detail I will find some !

Looking more in detail at the units it all looks rather pedestrian, repetitive and dull .... look at KS3 Economic acitivty as an example :

Primary resources:
Where are they found? How do we access them? Where are they needed? How do they get there?

Energy:
Where are they located? How are they accessed? Where are the needed? How do they get there? What are the benefits and problems for people and the environment associated with different energy sources?

Water:
different ways in which it is used: agricultural, domestic and industrial. From where do we get our water? How is it transported? What happens to the water after it has been used?

The agricultural system: inputs, processes and outputs.
What food is grown in different regions? Why is it grown there? Where is the market for this food?
Different types of farming: monocrop, arable, intensive, ranching, nomadic, genetically modified.

The industrial system: inputs, processes and outputs.
Examples of commodities that are manufactured. Why are they made there? Where is the market area?
Factors affecting the location of manufacturing plants including: resources, power,

This must have taken hours to put together (or not) -  one hand out at the start of each part of the course with all the answers, rote learn it and move on to the next topic which hopefully might be more stimulating.

Interesting to see the proposal has not moved on from Burgess and Hoyt - let's face it the Burgess model does not work without a lot of assumptions and it might have helped when developing a concentric model city to not base it on a city which cannot be a concentric circle as half of it is under a lake.

Disappointing that the proposal also has the americanisation of spellings with a lot of Zs, urbanization / industrialization. Surely Dr Standish could have at least put his spell checker on to English (UK) not English (American) if it is for an English audiance.

It is easy to whinge and moan but I think the overall feeling is that after constant change over the past 10 years we had finally got something that was working and was stimulating for both students and teachers. We want the opporutnity for some stability when we can get on with doing our job. This, sorry Alex, seems to be proposing to undo much of that progress.

Stuart
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: davegnu8 on September 18, 2011, 08:45:20 PM
I've read it, and I'm worried.
Does Standish realise that this type of geography was taken out of the curriculum because it wasn't working?
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Chris LS on September 18, 2011, 09:07:33 PM
This is all so totally retrogressive in the whole approach, I just can't believe it.

Taking just one practical question, am I correct in thinking that Plate Tectonics would be a topic for Y5-6, removed from KS3 altogether, and then brought back again at GCSE?

It seems to me that even if Secondary Academies are rubbing their hands with glee that they won't be bound by the national curriculum, they are still going to be affected by the change in the curriculum in primary geography.....  removal of the much-loved tectonics topic from KS3 being one such example (unless Academies continue to teach it anyway, resulting in students studying 'tectonics' in KS2,3 and 4, in the same way that some students might study 'rivers' in all key stages at the moment.)

Is there any indication at all on what will be considered as the English 'regions'?  The draft says "as above" but I can't see what that's referring to?
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: swhitch on September 18, 2011, 09:21:00 PM
There does not seem to be any identification of where or how fieldwork is intended to fit in ...... wonder if that is in another proposal or is it suggesting that fieldwork / coursework / controlled assessment is to be completely replaced by written exam? Or have I missed something?
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Kate Russell on September 18, 2011, 09:23:58 PM
It is really good that SLNers are having this debate - however the pleace to respond is on the GA website and then in the Spring via the official consultation channels (DfE). Feedback on GA website http://www.geography.org.uk/getinvolved/geographycurriculumconsultation/feedback  (http://www.geography.org.uk/getinvolved/geographycurriculumconsultation/feedback)

I guess the historians have similar feelings about Simon Schama (also working in North Americva) who is consultant to DfE.

On a positive note: does this mean that geography IS remaining in the National Curriculum KS1 - 3?
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Victoria on September 18, 2011, 10:17:48 PM
I read this this morning and my initial thought was that Gove's plan was to make the new curriculum so terrible that schools would become academies so that they'd not have to follow it...

I do think place knowledge and some 'regional geography' is important - students (mine anyway) do like to know where places are and what they are like, but the difference is that we currently make our own decisions about which places we study, and we don't study them in isolation without consideration of their relationships with other places and broader issues.

I do also think that when I first started teaching there was a bit too much of what I seem to remember someone on here describing as the 'climate change tail wagging the geography dog' and rather too great a focus on issues at the expense of anything else.

So I do think there is room for a happy medium.  But I think the current curriculum, whilst not perfect, is exactly that.  I, as HoD, have guidance about the basics that I should be covering, but have the freedom to adapt these to the needs and interests of my students (and the staff in my department!).  The prescriptive nature of these new proposals - and the compartmentalisation of the myriad aspects of geography (when I have just spent the past eight years trying to develop that synoptic, holistic, 'bigger picture' approach in my students) - is thoroughly depressing. 

Interestingly, the one and only time that I (a 31-year old in my 9th year of teaching) have taught Christaller was to Year 12 in my NQT year.  Not being familiar with all those lovely dots, I posted a request for help on the old SLN forum.  Amongst the scathing and scornful "I can't believe people are still teaching this rubbish" comments, Val Vannet kindly offered to dig out some of her old teaching materials and would try to photocopy something for me, with the disclaimer that it would be old and out-of-date.

Uptake of Geography at GCSE and A Level has increased considerably in recent years at my school, and although the new GCSE and A Level specs are far from perfect, students appreciate the balance of some traditional physical geography and some more contemporary topics such as conflict and health.  If these proposals come to fruition, the work that we (and countless other geography departments) have done in recent years will be out of the window.

Whatever happens though, there is no way I'll start spelling urbanisation with a 'z'!
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Noel Jenkins on September 18, 2011, 10:45:11 PM
It is really good that SLNers are having this debate - however the pleace to respond is on the GA website and then in the Spring via the official consultation channels (DfE). Feedback on GA website http://www.geography.org.uk/getinvolved/geographycurriculumconsultation/feedback  (http://www.geography.org.uk/getinvolved/geographycurriculumconsultation/feedback)

I guess the historians have similar feelings about Simon Schama (also working in North Americva) who is consultant to DfE.

On a positive note: does this mean that geography IS remaining in the National Curriculum KS1 - 3?

Completely agree Kate but it's important to exercise the debate through other channels as well. During the first wave of Standish back in 2002/3 the debate we had on SLN was picked up far and wide. Academic geographers need to be engaged too. Once it gets to the official DofE consultation it's time to give up and take to the streets. Who in their right mind could have any faith in government edupolicy?

Twitter hashtags #newgeography and #geographyriot
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: swhitch on September 18, 2011, 10:56:57 PM
Kate - the discussion here is probably very valuable to get some key thoughts in place of what we might prefer to the Standish Curriculum Proposal.

Have just scanned the GA response and far better on balance and seems to display a better understanding of the current nature of school geography. It also seems to display progrsession from one age group to another and a more integrated approach.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: swhitch on September 18, 2011, 11:01:10 PM
Further to the Americanisation of spelling in this proposal - has geography not been identified as a major subject for improving spelling, punctuation and grammar? Great start !
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Blue Square Thing on September 18, 2011, 11:41:35 PM
Further to the Americanisation of spelling in this proposal - has geography not been identified as a major subject for improving spelling, punctuation and grammar? Great start !

If you can spell Tajikstan you get a Level 7 I believe...
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Geogphotos on September 19, 2011, 08:32:38 AM
I understand all the points about progression and content but as I've said what gets to me is the political element. Of course, Standish and Gove would argue that the whole point is to take politics out of geography. But taking this stance is in itself hugely political.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: GB geographer on September 19, 2011, 09:19:43 AM
I have posted my initial thoughts at http://livinggeography.blogspot.com/ (http://livinggeography.blogspot.com/)

As has been mentioned, GA colleagues are indeed working away behind the scenes at the Higher Education / academic level to get as much debate as possible.
It's important that as many of you as possible do fill in the GA consultation document too at http://geography.org.uk/getinvolved/geographycurriculumconsultation
You are probably not going to have the chance to meet Nick Gibb in a week or so to talk about this, but the GA are, and if David Lambert can go with support for the GA's document, and evidence of wide-ranging disquiet about the Standish proposals there might be a chance of something happening.
And if that fails, I still have my 'Give Geography its Place' hoodie and I'm not afraid to wear it :)

Right, off to write some standardised tests on the Griffin-Ford model...
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Geogphotos on September 19, 2011, 09:35:07 AM
Excuse my ignorance - what exact status does the Standish document have? Is it a personal view? Is it the govt view?

Thanks
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: GB geographer on September 19, 2011, 09:43:01 AM
My understanding is that Nick Gibb asked Alex Standish to write a national curriculum for geography, partly as a result of his earlier work with Civitas http://civitas.org.uk/press/prcsCorruption.php
It is described as a 'contribution to the national curriculum review' but with the DfE being influenced by Hirsch and his 'core knowledge' sequence (which Standish references in his document) it is likely to have an important influence on the shape of the final geography curriculum that emerges.
GA colleagues may be able to clarify this further...
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: add on September 19, 2011, 06:45:07 PM
Alan,

Not sure my GGIP t shirt will fit these days!!
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Mark on September 20, 2011, 09:38:01 AM
Interesting to see the proposal has not moved on from Burgess and Hoyt - let's face it the Burgess model does not work without a lot of assumptions and it might have helped when developing a concentric model city to not base it on a city which cannot be a concentric circle as half of it is under a lake.

I remember pointing this out to my teacher when I was doing my A level :D I think he was quite impressed at the time, at least I hope he was.

I haven't read through the whole thing properly yet but on skimming through it seems the Connections, Interactions, Foundation series of books should be in his references, or am I being a bit flippant?
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Geogphotos on September 20, 2011, 11:03:21 AM
Interesting to see the proposal has not moved on from Burgess and Hoyt - let's face it the Burgess model does not work without a lot of assumptions and it might have helped when developing a concentric model city to not base it on a city which cannot be a concentric circle as half of it is under a lake.

I remember pointing this out to my teacher when I was doing my A level :D I think he was quite impressed at the time, at least I hope he was.

I haven't read through the whole thing properly yet but on skimming through it seems the Connections, Interactions, Foundation series of books should be in his references, or am I being a bit flippant?

Yes, but it is not really important to the model. I don't suppose that Standish fully understands the sociology that lies behind the model - that of competition between social groups, classes, ethnic groups for space in a rapidly urbanising capitalist city - and he will simply want a descriptive, superficial account of what goes where.

My comment on the GA site seems not to have met with approval so I'm grateful to SLN for this forum.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Daniel Raven-Ellison on September 20, 2011, 01:32:24 PM
It is a very sad development indeed. What I am pleased by is how it unites many of us with violent disgust and perhaps a common voice in support of all the good work done in recent years. While the GA consultation is important, perhaps an open public letter in the media would also be of use.

Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Judith R on September 20, 2011, 01:45:30 PM
I giave my year 9's a quick summary of some of the proposals (admittedly from here as haven't yet read it all in detail).
Their faces said it all!

Maybe we should be gettng them to comment as well.

Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Stephen Schwab on September 20, 2011, 05:36:57 PM
Dan, we should I think use any and every route , via the GA, and in open media responses to relay our feelings.
I agree, what we oppose together makes us stronger, and our good progress cannot I feel be lost.
Living through curriculum change is what we do[ like it or no, for all my years of teaching] and good practice always comes through -because we bring it with us into the classroom.
My view is perhaps too optimistic but it has survived 3 decades plus of teaching. Hold fast to what is good, especially in stormy times-like now, i think.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: swhitch on September 20, 2011, 06:06:08 PM
Quote from one of my "non-geography" colleagues when I highlighted some of the topics being considered - "That's why I gave up geography, it bored me rigid"

Stuart
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Judith R on September 20, 2011, 11:57:48 PM
"Geography doesn't just teach us where places are on the map but what goes on there, how do people live their day to day lives, what threats they are faced with, how rich their nation is. It also teaches us how the planet works and how we can save it. Adding all this up, geography is one of if not the most important lessons to be taught." Jack aged 13. (At least I'm pretty sure it's him - I tried googling.)

I reckon a curriculum based around that would be a good start.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: HB100 on September 21, 2011, 06:49:34 AM
Give that kid a sticker and put him in charge !
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: swhitch on September 21, 2011, 08:19:51 AM
Maybe we should get more students to enter the RGS Young Geographer of the Year Competition (or maybe it is the RGS developing their own response) - "What should everygood geography understand?" - see www.rgs.org for more details - deadline soon.

Stuart
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Anne Greaves on September 22, 2011, 09:13:43 AM

My comment on the GA site seems not to have met with approval so I'm grateful to SLN for this forum.

Hi Geogphotos

Just wanted to follow this up. I've personally approved every comment that's been made on our consultation pages - we welcome everyone's responses. If you submitted the questionnaire then your answers are stored behind the scenes and won't appear on the public site, but every open comment should be appearing on the site. Feel free to drop me a line at agreaves@geography.org.uk if you think there's a problem - I can always try to double check the questionnaire responses for you to make sure that we've received yours (it'll be a little tricky as they're anonymous, but I can find a way!)

Hope this helps,

Anne
GA Website Manager
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Geogphotos on September 22, 2011, 11:10:07 PM

My comment on the GA site seems not to have met with approval so I'm grateful to SLN for this forum.

Hi Geogphotos

Just wanted to follow this up. I've personally approved every comment that's been made on our consultation pages - we welcome everyone's responses. If you submitted the questionnaire then your answers are stored behind the scenes and won't appear on the public site, but every open comment should be appearing on the site. Feel free to drop me a line at agreaves@geography.org.uk if you think there's a problem - I can always try to double check the questionnaire responses for you to make sure that we've received yours (it'll be a little tricky as they're anonymous, but I can find a way!)

Hope this helps,

Anne
GA Website Manager

Hi Anne,

I didn't complete the questionnaire. I just made a comment.

Presumably that is the problem.

Thanks

Ian Murray
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Victoria on September 22, 2011, 11:24:59 PM
Hi Ian,

I can see ten comments on the curriculum consultation page on the GA website, and one of those (from 9.31am on 19th September) appears to be from you...

Did you post another comment that hasn't appeared??

Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Geogphotos on September 23, 2011, 08:27:28 AM
Thanks Victoria - I see it now. I was looking at the page that Kate linked to which has 20 comments. I didn't realise that there were two pages of comments.

http://www.geography.org.uk/getinvolved/geographycurriculumconsultation/
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Anne Greaves on September 23, 2011, 08:53:24 AM
Thanks Victoria - glad it's all been cleared up now!  :)

Anne
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: DAF on September 23, 2011, 10:21:34 PM
My grandad was a hoarder, I am pretty sure I could dig out his teaching stuff if any body wants to save on planning time!!
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Liz Smith on September 24, 2011, 07:34:11 PM
Positive thing- more primary school geography. I would love it if students could complete the mental map exercise of the UK in year 7! I don't think this is realistic though because of the many other pressures primary schools face and what with all the cuts they are making, there are few subject specialists.

I just want to ignore the whole thing because writing the last curriculum was literally back breaking, many hours spent sat at a computer like a lot of people. It means a lot more work and at my age I need to save my energy, because I will be working until I am 68 teaching this drivel. Yeah right! In David Cameron's dreams.

I will add to the consultation, for what it's worth.

Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Stephen Schwab on September 26, 2011, 05:32:25 PM
Go down the GA route, write directly to Mr Gove,- using the HMI link is more than most of us could hope to do. :)
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: GB geographer on September 26, 2011, 08:08:18 PM
Latest comment on GA website by Margaret Roberts is well worth reading...

"Alex Standish's curriculum would in my opinion, be disastrous for geographical education. It is extremely dated in that it takes no account of the developments in academic geography and geographical education that have taken place in the last 50 years. His human geography takes no account of, for example, human agency in decision making, conflicting viewpoints on what should be done, on the political and economic contexts in which these decisions are made and of the way places are represented and understood. His physical geography takes no account the complex interplay between human action and physical processes; rivers, coasts, hazards can be managed and are influenced by human action. He does not include thinking on environmental issues. Standish’s geography is simplistic, is mainly descriptive and lacks intellectual rigour.
Geographical education in England currently goes beyond Standish’s description and factor analysis and has developed investigative approaches which enable students to study a wide range of complex issues through the analysis and interpretation of evidence, presented not only on maps, but in statistics, graphs, text, photographs and film.
There are several reasons why a dated curriculum would matter.
First, school geography would become even more detached from the academic discipline and would not be able to benefit from constructive liaison between academic and school geographers. It would stagnate.
Second, it would become difficult to attract good geography graduates into teaching as they would not be able to make use of the subject knowledge gained during their degree course and contribute to the development of the curriculum
Third, children and students in school would find this curriculum unrelated to the lives they lead and to the way they encounter the world through the media. For example, how would knowing about ‘hamlets’ or ‘linear settlements’ or ‘central place theory’ increase students’ understanding of UK's urban areas? Students would find this curriculum irrelevant and boring.
Fourth, the respect that many countries, e.g. Singapore, have for the English geography curriculum and geographical education would be lost. Many geography educators, internationally, would greet a curriculum based on Standish’s ideas with disbelief or ridicule.
Fifth, the Standish curriculum would not enable students to develop an understanding of the major issues we face in the 21st century: globalisation; global warming; increasing urbanisation; use of water and resources; energy supply; feeding the world’s population; huge national and global inequalities; fragile ecosystems and environmental change; local, national and international conflicts.
In my view the Standish curriculum is a stagnant curriculum and every effort should be made to prevent it having any influence on the new geography national curriculum. For the complex demands of the 21st century, we need a geography curriculum which is informed by the latest academic thinking in geography and which excites and engages young people and develops their understanding of the changing and complex world in which they are growing up and in which they will live their adult lives."

Margaret Roberts, GA Member

Go to http://www.geography.org.uk/getinvolved/geographycurriculumconsultation (http://www.geography.org.uk/getinvolved/geographycurriculumconsultation) and have your say
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: hre99 on September 26, 2011, 08:57:32 PM
Another thought -   this 'curriculum' takes no account of what people (including young people) in ‘the regions’ we are expected to ‘teach’ about  - actually think about us ... !
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Daniel Raven-Ellison on September 27, 2011, 12:12:01 AM
Go Margaret! Woop!
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: gazz on September 28, 2011, 06:50:14 AM
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/education/three-rs-of-asian-education-rigorous-rigid-and-results-20110927-1kvgq.html

Working in the asian education system at the minute, I agree with a lot of this article.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: GB geographer on October 03, 2011, 04:31:52 PM
A comment by Alex Standish, which has just been added to the GA Consultation page...

Wow! This is what it has come to: GA members arguing against the teaching of geography. Clearly, some members think that teaching about the surface of the world (climate, landscape, ecosystems, population, settlements, economies, political territories, culture etc.), the object of geographical enquiry, is not interesting or relevant for children today. Instead, we need to ‘engage’ them through sexy ‘issues’ and topics to which they can ‘relate’. One wonders why people call themselves geographers if they find geographical phenomena “boring”. Many geographers that I know find the surface of the world intriguing, complex, a puzzle. It is a challenge to unravel the different layers and explore the different processes that together have shaped our landscapes/cityscapes and those in different countries across the globe. Teaching geography means instilling in children the same kind of hunger to learn and inquisitiveness about the world. To satisfy this curiosity, pupils need to learn knowledge about the different physical and human geographical layers, such that one can begin to understand the different geographical processes at work. Or at least, this is what geography teaching should mean.

Those who want children to be critically engaged with contemporary issues facing humanity in different localities need to ask themselves, “What makes someone an independent critical thinker?” The answer is knowledge. Yes, learning about ‘issues’ is a part of geography, but in order to be able to engage with such issues in any meaningful way, you first need to learn some geography (and probably other subjects like history and science as well). This shortcoming was highlighted in this year’s OFSTED report Geography: Learning to Make a World of Difference:
Although pupils were often encouraged well to consider complex global issues such as migration and inequalities of wealth, their understanding was frequently unsatisfactory. This was because the learning was not set sufficiently within the context of real and recognizable places, so their understanding did not develop beyond an awareness that such issues existed.
It is knowledge, not issues, that develops human agency because knowledge is the path to understanding, from which we can interpret how to act.
“But education has changed. Academic geography has changed. Standish’s curriculum is so dated,” retort certain members. Indeed, education in the UK has changed enormously. But why do people assume that this change is positive? Many academics/universities no longer see their role as the expansion and dissemination of knowledge. Look around you at the sorry state of Western society (including state education). And, given that we know that the curriculum reflects social change, why would we not be sceptical of the direction education has taken. Come on folks. Where are your critical faculties? Get some historical perspective on the subject and then maybe it will be evident why geography, as a subject discipline, is fast disappearing in the UK. Don’t take my word for it. Read William Marsden, Richard Hartshorne, Phil Gersmehl and others who have a clearer sense of what geography is about. This is not to be blind to the historical conditions which contextualize a subject, but the process of geographical enquiry and the object of study remain the same.

Finally, my curriculum is just one contribution to the discussion of the geography children need to learn. The process of writing a national curriculum should involve a community of geographers collectively answering the question of what knowledge to study at which level. The GA’s submission is a part of this, but it does not go nearly far enough in specifying the essential geographical knowledge children need to learn. It is the responsibility of subject leaders and teachers to provide the answer to this question.


We can hope that as Alex says:
"The process of writing a national curriculum should involve a community of geographers collectively answering the question of what knowledge to study at which level"

but we are likely to be excluded from those decisions.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Tony Cassidy on October 03, 2011, 05:25:31 PM
Interesting... do you think we could get him at a FM? I want to hear him in person.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Blue Square Thing on October 03, 2011, 05:41:13 PM
From Standish above:

"...but it does not go nearly far enough in specifying the essential geographical knowledge children need to learn."

Hmm - we tried that back in 1990 and 1991 with our five attainment targets. Scientists had something like 17 iirc. It doesn't work - partially because it ends up begetting a "tick-box" taught that approach and partly because the knowledge gets out of date very quickly. There's so much that's changed in the past three years, let alone the past 20.

I can't imagine how a set of "knowledge" along the lines he's proposing could stay relevant for much longer than that.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: add on October 03, 2011, 06:19:27 PM
He just does not get it...does he.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Geogphotos on October 04, 2011, 08:20:37 AM
What is Alex Standish's background in teaching geography in UK state schools?
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: GB geographer on October 05, 2011, 09:08:50 AM
Autumn issues of 'Geography' and 'Teaching Geography' now available to download from GA website by subscribers
Plenty of articles in each one on the curriculum change and the issue of knowledge
Plenty of SLN representation too :)
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: podders on October 05, 2011, 10:21:13 AM

Wow! This is what it has come to: GA members arguing against the teaching of geography.

Wow, how can one person be so arrogant that he views constructive and varied discussion of the proposals to be arguing against the teaching of geography. Has this man been into a variety of Geography classrooms in the UK and those international schools who follow the English system? I've read his CV and recognise his achivements but don't agree with very much that he has said on this topic. I totally agree with everything that Margaret Roberts says. Having had Margaret as my PGCE tutor, she remains the single biggest influence on my teaching has the absolute experience, knowledge and understanding of teaching Geography. Her views are spot on and I would very much like to see her, as a GA figurehead and more importantly as an educator with huge experience, going head to head with Mr Standish about his ill-thought out proposals.

Matt
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Nik on October 05, 2011, 12:20:21 PM
'Instead, we need to ‘engage’ them through sexy ‘issues’ and topics to which they can ‘relate’. One wonders why people call themselves geographers if they find geographical phenomena “boring”.'

Now I can add patronising to my list of thoughts about Mr Standish.

I have no desire to teach 'sexy' topics, merely those which are relevant to a geographical education in 2011. As someone who does still advocate the importance of place knowledge and the relvance of physical geography, I find his condescending tone extremely insulting.

Nik
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: HB100 on October 05, 2011, 03:47:17 PM
well said Nik! His arrogance leaves me lost for words.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Stephen Schwab on October 05, 2011, 10:04:05 PM
 I keep reading this thread and it always makes me sad, yet I always leave it believing that the geography community of teachers will get through this curriculum review as we have done the last n many. With some sore heads and some bumps -but time will tell on these Johnny come latelys.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: swhitch on October 06, 2011, 12:15:13 AM
Tried reading some of the autors Alex Standish identifies with:

Richard Hartshore: Would that be the Richard Hartshore who according to wikipedia " was part of a key geographical debate in the 1950s over the nature of the subject. Fred K. Schaefer called for the adoption of the 'scientific method' and study of spatial laws and criticised the 'old method' promoted by Hartshorne as the 'Hartshornian orthodoxy'. Suggests that he was viewed as out of date even during his lifetime over 50 years ago.

Phil Gerschmel: This link ( http://www.ncgia.ucsb.edu/varenius/tcw/may/gersmehl.html ) provides some interesting reading including the following - "To help people make informed choices, I continue to believe that the major need is for well designed and thoroughly tested geography teaching materials (which are still in scandalously short supply, despite a decade of Alliance summer institutes and a high level of disciplinary visibility in national funding programs). In recent years, however, I have become persuaded that we need two more things. First, our professional organizations and leaders should become more proactive in voicing support for good materials and tactics. Even in the recent past, we have been timid in expressing support for specific materials; we seemed to think that any geography was better than none, and that public support for specific materials or approaches might discourage other potential contributors. Second, we need an accessible public forum in which poor materials and approaches can be identified, dissected, and perhaps improved."

Seems like SLN is doing all the right things according to Gerschmel, including the accessible public forum so maybe the basis of this is already in place if people were prepared to look.

Also: "To begin a "personal statement" about geography education: some propositions about which I hope we all agree.
Citizens need geography.
They need to understand the place where they are.
They need to know something about the forces that converge in that location to give that place the traits it has.
They need to see how those forces and traits help to make some kinds of behavior appropriate and others less so in that place.
They need to understand how other places have different forces and traits, which in turn make other kind of behavior appropriate.
Finally, they need to understand how people make decisions about the spatial arrangement of things in their place, and how those decisions can (and should) be evaluated on the basis of efficiency, equitability, and aesthetics
. "

Other interesting quotes include "Those examples of poor pedagogy are not confined to the lowest stratum of naive newcomers or pre-retirees" - Charming !

Some more interesting info here: http://www.buffalostate.edu/orgs/NYGA/program.pdf where he presented the keynote address titled, Spatial Thinking: Teaching Geography as if Citizenship Mattered

Love this quote from ( http://ncgia.ucsb.edu/projects/scdg/docs/position/Gersmehl-position-paper.pdf ) and one for the wall at school: Our results hint at the exact opposite: they suggest that if you want to improve scores on reading and math tests, you should at least consider teaching more and better geography!

The Hunter College Undergrad Prog ( http://www.geo.hunter.cuny.edu/programs/ba_courses.html#geog101) is here.

Also found these which might be driving the Regional nature of the Dr Standish proposals:

The ARGUS CD: Multimedia Units for Regional Geography. Gersmehl, Philip J, Association of American Geographers, 1998 and

 "Michal also put me in touch with Phil Gershmel, who works for the Geographic Education Center at Hunter College, here in NYC. I We had lunch, and he provided me with his recommendation for a Geography text book: Geography Alive: Regions and People. Working with him and his organization could be key to our success! http://www.openplanner.org/node/297

A William E. Marsden has contributed this historical assessment of the school textbook : http://www.amazon.com/School-Textbook-History-Geography-Education/dp/0713040432#reader_0713040432 and a book on Better governance of schools but can find little about Geography.

Any one else found any interesting reads from Dr. Standish's named experts?
Stuart
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: podders on October 06, 2011, 08:38:23 AM
Haha.

Good work Stuart. Entertaining & interesting reading indeed.  Let's hope we don't make Geography a 'Stand(ish)still subject'.

Matt
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Geogphotos on October 06, 2011, 10:41:03 AM
I remember being taught about the Hartshorne - Schaefer debate about uniqueness when I was at uni in the mid 1970s. It was relevant then because of the move to models  and quantification ( Schaefer as an early pioneer) and away from the old regional approach.

This sums up Hartshorne's position and dates from the late 1930s:

"In regional geography all the knowledge of the interrelations of all features at given places--obtained in part from the different systems of systematic geography--is integrated, in terms of the interrelations which those features have to each other, to provide the total geography of those places. The areal integration of an infinite number of place-integrations of factors varying somewhat independently in relation to place, is possible only by the arbitrary device of ignoring variations within small unit-areas so that these finite areal units, each arbitrarily distorted into a homogeneous unit, may be studied in their relations to each other as parts of larger areas. These larger areas are themselves but parts of still larger divisions--ultimately divisions of the world."

In other words we learn geography by studying the uniqueness of places. The region provides a convenient unit for studying these unique areas - not too small, not too big, and ignore any minor internal differences to create a more or less homogenous spatial unit. Once we have learnt the systematic regional geography of each of the world's regions we have mastered the subject!

It did make my eyes stand on end to see Standish refer to Hartshorne as a basis for twenty-first century geographical education. And this is an old, old subject to be under discussion in 2011. Schaefer died in 1953.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Blue Square Thing on October 06, 2011, 01:02:31 PM
Ah, pig farming in Denmark.

Bring it on...
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: swhitch on October 06, 2011, 03:50:49 PM
The making of matches in Jonkopping and Narvik being used to export Kiruna Iron Ore due to frozen ports in Sweden, pig farming in Sweden came a close third.

Oh the things we remember from regional geography !

Stuart
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Judith R on October 06, 2011, 05:29:33 PM
My mun was a geography teacher - we 'question-spotted' and she did farming in East Anglia and iron and steel industry in Sheffield. Both came up and I got my A - (good job really - everyone else failed as copying from the dictated notes didn't work).
I can still draw a mean sketch map of the above!
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: annelogie on October 06, 2011, 05:38:52 PM
In the summer I was checking into a hotel in Tanzania. On reception was Patrick, a black African who had been brought up in Kenya. On learning that I was a Geography teacher he told me of his school days in the 1960s. He had been to a British school and followed the British curriculum. He was very attached to his knowledge of regional geography - he knew all about Britain and Europe - I remember him telling me about the geography of the Rhine Valley.
He also did Scottish country dancing and had worn a kilt! His grandchildren are in school now and he says they know nothing - the rigor has gone.
Title: Re: You need to read this...
Post by: Geogphotos on October 06, 2011, 06:09:04 PM
The odd thing about regions is that they are so arbitrary is scale.

East Anglia is a region, and then so is South East Asia. Let's do South West of Britain and then we'll switch to South America.