DISPLAYING ITEMS BY TAG: GEOGRAPHY

Here at WorldStrides, one of the world’s leading educational travel providers, we have an exciting year lined up for you! With 50 years of experience, we've taken over 7 million students on educational trips - over 400,000 students travelled with us last year alone! For 2017/18, we want to show how our new features can help even more UK schools head abroad to explore foreign locations.

Since taking on a head of department role four years ago I have had the same flashback every time I sit down at my desk on the first morning back. I was up on the bleak wilds of Dartmoor in October with the daylight fading and rain coming down fast and furious. I wasn’t sure where I was or where I was going. Panic rose in my throat. I was lost.

In school, crafting needn’t be limited to the art classes; in fact, it can be a really great way to engage students with subjects in a different style. Shaking learning styles up is often very stimulating - a nice break from the norm - and art can be used to supplement learning in almost every other subject on the curriculum. Here are some ideas for injecting some creativity into Geography classes.

I wasn’t always going to be a teacher. In 1988, I was at Jesus College, Oxford researching the iconography of landscape in British film. In the late eighties, it was a topic right on the edge of Geography. My thesis supervisor was the razor sharp Professor David Harvey; probably the most famous geographer in the world at that time. But a postcard note in my college pigeonhole changed the direction of my life. A colleague in the School of Geography had obtained a lectureship and asked me to take over his part time teaching job at St Edward's School in Summertown, an Independent School just north of Oxford. I accepted the job. I thought it would be an interesting change from the Upper Reading Rooms and the cramped viewing booths of the British Film Institute, plus a much needed boost to my scholarship stipend.

The above is me after one of our training climbs - tweets intact! In my last post, on virtual reality, I wrote about how I could fly over Chicago or climb high mountains effortlessly. All you needed was Google Cardboard. Well, what do you do if you want to document a real adventure?

Let me begin by firstly explaining that this is a somewhat bizarre article to write, in the sense that it is not an ‘against all the odds’ battle to succeed in the style of Nativity (you’ve seen that film, right?) or Leicester City’s Premier League success of 2016. It’s more the story of a young student with very rare natural capabilities to shine and achieve, with or without the input of her Geography teacher.

Teaching a foreign language in Primary school is often a bit of a misnomer. French and Spanish are the standard options and you as the teacher are typically in one of three situations:

  1. A foreign language expert is brought in one day a week to blitz-teach every class in the school.
  2. There is a resident foreign language teacher in the school who teaches each class.
  3. You teach your class a half hour lesson every week, where possible.

I have always been keen to promote departmental work with an international theme, and was delighted last summer to be involved in a project linking my school with students in Ecuador. The venture was set up by Neil Emery, who has has organised two previous projects in Ecuador, visiting tribal groups and delivering technology workshops to pupils at local community schools. Further details of his achievements are detailed on his own IMS article.

Although I’m quite handy when it comes to pub quizzes, geography has always been a bit of a blind spot. So when the initial email came in from the Learning Adventure Resources Network, I wasn’t exactly sure where Malaysia was. My only immediate reference point was the Willis Hall play (and film) The Long, the Short and the Tall, which didn’t seem entirely appropriate – but a quick look at the atlas showed that I’d instinctively placed the country in the right part of the world (good start) – even if I’d been a little confused as to its physical relationships with its neighbours.

The job at the International School was advertised in the January of 2009, and after two interviews, I was appointed two months later. I would taking over from Richard Allaway of geographyalltheway fame at a laptop school, and teaching International Baccalaureate (IB) having never previously taught KS5! This seemed like a big deal, never mind the move to France, taking a significant hit on the sale of our house in the UK and the packing up and leaving my home country perhaps for ever. On the plus side, I spoke some of the lingo having been together with Gaelle, my French wife since late last century.

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