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Core Content overviews for new A level

Author Topic: Core Content overviews for new A level  (Read 7080 times)

steve brace

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Core Content overviews for new A level
« on: October 13, 2015, 11:05:09 AM »
Hi,

For colleagues looking at the new A levels we've started to publish a series of overviews for different sections of the new Core Content.  These are written by HE colleagues - a number of whom were members of the ALCAB review panel.  Their aim is to set out some of the key concerns, concepts and approaches which underpin the different areas of content. 

We've commissioned these in response to teaching colleagues - with either a physical or human geography background  - wanting to better understand the 'other' side of the new A Level. 

So to be clear these aren't classroom 'resources', but rather background papers to inform and enhance colleagues' subject knowledge. 

The first two are now live and discuss Global Systems and Changing Places and further overviews on Carbon and Water, glaciation and other aspects of A Level will be published shortly

All available on this link http://www.rgs.org/OurWork/Schools/Teaching+resources/Key+Stage+5+resources/Key+Stage+5+resources.htm

Best wishes

Steve

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Rob Chambers

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Re: Core Content overviews for new A level
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2015, 06:53:55 PM »
These will be really useful - thanks for these Steve :)

edge

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Re: Core Content overviews for new A level
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2015, 08:24:44 PM »
What a great idea, thanks to Steve and all at the RGS for these. Looking forward to future editions.
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swhitch

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Re: Core Content overviews for new A level
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2015, 11:53:20 PM »
Hi Steve

I am sure that these will be well received BUT this is exactly what was predicted and posted about when the new specs came out: ALCAB appeared to have a number of people on it pushing their own niche geographies and lo and behold, these niche areas require those who put the content into the new specs to write resources, and no doubt textbooks, to support the understanding of these research specialisms.

Should there not be a clause preventing those placing their own research topics into the core curriculum from then benefitting financially? Isn't there a conflict of interests here?
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Graham

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Re: Core Content overviews for new A level
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2015, 05:54:03 AM »

Thanks Steve and the RGS- very helpful!
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steve brace

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Re: Core Content overviews for new A level
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2015, 04:58:18 PM »
Thanks for the feedback - just to mention Glaciation overview  - for Landscape Systems - is now live too

Best
Steve

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lyndoncowlard

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Re: Core Content overviews for new A level
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2015, 06:05:02 PM »
I totally agree with Swhitch.

I have not met one teacher of Geography who is happy about the changes. The current spec we teach is brilliant - extremely engaging. It seems the people who have advised on the changes have their own agenda. How many teachers were actually consulted? It seems the changes are purely driven by Universities.

Interestingly, when students (who are doing Geog at Uni) come back to visit us at school, they always moan about the very stuff they seem to be putting in the new A level specs!

Are others concerned about uptake with the changes?

swhitch

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Re: Core Content overviews for new A level
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2015, 08:05:52 PM »
lyndoncowlard

For your information: The ALCAB group can be found here http://alcab.org.uk/our-people/subject-panels/

Geography
The Geography Panel is chaired by Professor Martin Evans who is a Professor of Geomorphology at University of Manchester and Head of Geography in the School of Environment, Education and Development.

Geography Panel members are:

Dr Pippa Chapman, University of Leeds

Professor Klaus Dodds, University of London

Professor Richard Harris, School of Geographical Sciences

Professor Anthony Long, University of Durham

Dr Emma Mawdsley, University of Cambridge

Professor Richard Phillips, University of Sheffield

Ms Bridget Oeppen, Hills Road 6th Form College, Cambridge

Dr Alistair Owens, Queen Mary, University of London

Dr Ruth Weaver, Plymouth University

Dr Rita Gardner, Royal Geographical Society

Mr Alan Kinder, Geographical Association

 :o You ask how many (High School) teachers ? None actually, although RGS and GA represent teachers and there is one "former" VI Form College Head of Geography and Geology.

University Geography and research specialisms should remain just that and are not for the mainstream school market. After all if it is taught at A level what would happen to university Geography? No doubt we would also hear squeals from the universities that "you have not been taught correctly at school" or "why do we have to do catch up courses"? I thought the whole point of this review was to prevent repetition through the Key stages not to reinforce it !

How many of these ALCAB members have any experience of teaching "school geography" and the pressures and restrictions we have in delivering the subject, the lack of funds and resources for niche and currently unresourced topics, the difficulties of getting out of school, the fact that Geography is NOT every student who studies geography's priority.

In my opinion the overriding, yet fundamental, misunderstanding of this group is that Geography is one of 4 or even 5 A levels that these students will be studying. Many will have chosen it as their third or fourth subject, they have other priorities, interests and demands on their time. This is unlike the university students they teach, who largely study just the one subject, Geography, or like me maybe Joint Honours.

Some are already doing the conference and CPD circuits telling teachers how to teach what they have imposed. How many have book deals ready for the new A level in 2016 or are promoting their own texts as recommended reading?

Many of those expected to deliver this new syllabus will not, themselves, have been taught these topics at school or university and have no experience of them. Maybe, just maybe, those responsible for the new content will tour schools providing an insight into the expectations, maybe even market the subject to current Y11 students and enthuse them to take geography. Maybe their universities could fund it, after all they might even pick up some students as a result of it. Here's hoping.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 12:09:27 AM by swhitch »
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lyndoncowlard

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Re: Core Content overviews for new A level
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2015, 09:13:37 PM »
That explains a lot.

I fear they may have scored an own goal though - how are they going to attract the number of students they want if fewer are taking it (and loving it) at A level?

Which specification are you preferring at the moment?

swhitch

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Re: Core Content overviews for new A level
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2015, 10:16:09 PM »
We are currently looking to stay with (Eduqas) WJEC - support has always been excellent and we have been with them for years. I must declare an interest here as a marker.

Interesting point about own goal. That could be a real issue I fear.
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lyndoncowlard

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Re: Core Content overviews for new A level
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2015, 10:28:50 PM »
It's a shame more teachers were not consulted, along with subject advisors from the exam boards - who I am sure would have had much to say.

I understand the accreditation of the draft specs is still some way off - so maybe (fingers crossed) they may improve! 


swhitch

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Re: Core Content overviews for new A level
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2015, 10:41:38 PM »
Have just looked through some of the resources developed for RGS by some of those on ALCAB. Some observations:

a) One has 4 recommended texts that are written by those who defined the specification, the other I looked through has 2.
b) There are papers from Journals that teachers in schools have no access to, unlike lecturers school teachers do not have open access to research journals. Maybe the universities could provide that access for schools if they are expecting us to access such resources, or maybe the RGS or the GA?
c) One seems to contain a large number of resources from the last century, isn't the focus of the new specification supposed to be the 21st century?
d) The cost of the first book I checked out was £40, I will look at the others but once again it just shows how out of touch with the school situation those developing the subject content are.


An interesting quote from one of the papers: "the concept of place significantly progresses upon GCSE understandings of this term, while it anticipates those in higher education, benefiting those who will go on to study geography at university" and doing what for those 95%+ (or whatever the % is) who will not be going to study geography at university?

The papers I have briefly skimmed seem to lack any understanding that teachers in schools will have new specifications for both A2 and GCSE at the same time. There seems to be an implication that we have the luxury of time (and money) to read, question, develop theoretical and concepts when in fact, survival and delivery of something that is comprehensible to our mixed ability students, will be our focus.

Let's finish on a positive note. Well done Keele, incidently where I completed my PhD albeit in Quaternary Geology, on producing the glaciation unit resource. Clear and with accessible resources and just three texts (one by author of the resource) although largely around £40 a copy.

And finally the link Steve put on this thread does take you to some excellent resources so certainly worth a look if not done so already.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 12:14:16 AM by swhitch »
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Evlinda

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Re: Core Content overviews for new A level
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2015, 07:51:23 AM »
Thanks Steve= this will really help!
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zcsaa44

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Re: Core Content overviews for new A level
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2015, 10:25:51 AM »
Switch, I think you probably have some points but I just wanted to question some of what you have said. In your last post you seemed to question the relevance of studying the concept of place as it will not be useful to people who do not want to go on to do Geography in more detail. I think that you could say this for a number of different subjects, in many areas that are covered. Why for example is knowing the processes that occur in rivers more useful that how the area they live in is created socially?

I do agree with the comments about cost, although I have access to a few of the articles and sections of books as they are from things I already own and the ones I have googled have come up with the article as a pdf.

swhitch

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Re: Core Content overviews for new A level
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2015, 11:01:00 PM »
zcssa44
Fair point but really I was trying to highlight the assumption of this statement, from lecturers at university who put the specs together, that students would go on to study geography at university. The specification, or syllabus, has been put together without any consideration that this is a subject for all abilities and not exclusively a nursery for University.

Place is fascinating, and as you point out, probably more relevant to many than river processes.

On your other point access to Journals is not possible for most departments or individual teachers and so to list them, and hugely expensive books really does not help in these times of budget cuts.
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