Teaching Geography in Secondary Schools: A Reader

By Maggie Smith | Go to book overview
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styles. If the gains in achievement generated by the CASE project are to be transferred across the curriculum, then there needs to be developed in geography teachers a new repertoire of skills that can be labelled as intervention skills. This is not to say that instruction skills are unnecessary, but that alone they are not sufficient to repair the disadvantage of slow cognitive development. Just how this can be accomplished within the framework of the government reforms of teacher education remains to be seen.

The National Curriculum for Geography came into force for 5-7-year-olds (Key Stage 1), 7-11-year-olds (Key Stage 2) and 11-14-year-olds (Key Stage 3) in September 1991. Key Stage 4 for 14-16-year-olds should have started in September 1994, by which time the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) courses would have been brought into line with National Curriculum requirements. This change has now been postponed until at least 1996. Each Key Stage had a compulsory content of material to be taught, the Programmes of Study. The assessment framework was provided by 5 Attainment Targets (ATs): Skills, Knowledge and Understanding of Places, Physical Geography, Human Geography and Environmental Geography. Each AT had ten Levels, which described, supposedly, progressive levels of attainment in those areas. Most Levels had several statements. Problematically, nearly all the statements contained command words such as 'describe', 'explain' and 'analyse', and a geographical knowledge component. The framework for the Geography proposals was produced by a working group appointed by the Secretary of State for Education.
The new Orders for Geography acknowledge the many weaknesses of the original, notably the difficulty of assessing the Statements of Attainment. The new orders contain one Attainment Target with 8 Level descriptions, which attempt to characterize a range of performance outcomes. Teachers would have to decide which descriptions best fitted each pupil. There have been some reductions in the content coverage required.

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Ausubel, D.P. (1963) The Psychology of Meaningful Verbal Learning, New York: Grune and Stratton.
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Beard, R. (1969) Piaget's Stages of Development, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Blagg, N., Ballinger, M. and Gardner, R. (1988) Somerset Thinking Skills Course, Oxford: Blackwell.
de Bono, E. (1996) CoRT Thinking, Oxford: Pergamon.
Bryant, P. (1974) Perception and Understanding in Young Children, London: Methuen.
Calderhead, J. (ed.) (1987) Exploring Teachers' Thinking, London: Cassell.
Carter, K. and Doyle, W. (1987) 'Teachers' knowledge structures and comprehension processes', in J. Calderhead (ed.) Exploring Teachers' Thinking, London: Cassell.
DES and Welsh Office (1989) National Curriculum Geography Working Group Interim Report . London: DES and Welsh Office.
Donaldson, M. (1978) Children's Minds, Glasgow: Fontana.


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Teaching Geography in Secondary Schools: A Reader
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