Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

TES Letters

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

TES Letters

Article excerpt

Taking steps to prevent the erosion of geography

Academic and broadcaster Iain Stewart rightly recognises the vital need for pupils to draw on, and work across, geography as a holistic discipline ("How geography must adapt or die", 25 April). Few geographers, if any, would disagree. But a prerequisite for young people to do that well and substantively is for them to have a very good understanding of the human and physical geography processes that underpin social, economic and environmental change. For example, without a secure grounding in the hydrological cycle, plate tectonics and economic development, how can pupils meaningfully examine responses to flooding, earthquakes and poverty?

Good teachers recognise this already. However, geography in school has in recent years sometimes suffered from too superficial a coverage of the underpinning processes. The new curriculum seeks to provide that fundamental understanding and, at later stages, to support students in applying it so they gain a sound grasp of issues at the interface of people, places and environments, such as flooding, climate change, biodiversity and ecosystem changes. The new national curriculum specifically requires an understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes, environments and resources. It is an approach that the Royal Geographical Society welcomes and supports.

In relation to concerns about the potential erosion of this subject, readers should be heartened to know that last year geography secured the largest proportional rise in numbers of entries of all major GCSE subjects; it is recruiting at a rate above the national average to degree courses; and geography graduates experience some of the lowest levels of graduate unemployment. Geography is, and continues to be, a robust and popular subject with growing recognition and influence in the 21st century.

Dr Rita Gardner

Director, Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers

Positive attitudes make numbers add up

It was very interesting to read Corinne Wolfe's article on the differing attitudes to mathematics in Asia and Britain ("Asia's mathematical advantage runs deep", Comment, 25 April).

To tackle this problem head on, at the Mathematics Mastery partnership we place great emphasis on the development of a growth mindset and positive attitudes. We have developed a research-based pedagogical approach to maths teaching that draws heavily on the success of Singapore and other Asian nations. …

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