Teaching Geography in Secondary Schools: A Reader

By Maggie Smith | Go to book overview

collective right to make autonomous, independent judgements regardless of external controls. Movements to control the training of new teachers also militate against the professional status of teachers. A key element of the professions is normally considered to be the links with higher education in the training of members of the profession, yet at the present time we witness attempts to break the link with higher education in the training of teachers and base such training entirely in schools. In the National Curriculum the role of the teacher is reduced to that of 'delivery' of the prescribed curriculum. The content of the curriculum is set out in the programmes of study contained in the Statutory Orders for each of the subjects that make up the National Curriculum. Teachers have little choice in the selection of content, while in the assessment of the pupils, stress is placed on externally set Statutory Assessment Tasks (SATs).

For the teacher committed to action research and thus to enhanced professionalism, this Fordist, conveyor belt, strait-jacket curriculum can offer little hope of an enabling education for our children. The review undertaken by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (SCAA) in 1993-94 (Dearing 1994) offers little scope for fundamental improvement of this situation, although marginal improvements are included. The professional role of teachers will need to be reconsidered radically if education that will genuinely offer the opportunity for the development of autonomous thinking individuals is to be re-established. The effective growth of action research as a means to a new professionalism should assist considerably in this process and should help to provide the opportunity for geography to begin to move towards the achievement of its true educational potential once again.


References
Alexander, R.J. and Ellis, J.W. (eds) (1981) Advanced Study for Teachers, Teacher Education Study Group, Society for Research into Higher Education, distributed by Naferton Books.
Buckingham, R.B. (1926) Research for Teachers, Silver Burdett Co.
Carr, W. and Kemmis, S. (1986) Becoming Critical: Education, Knowledge and Action Research , The Falmer Press.
Corey, S. (1953) Action Research to Improve School Practices, Columbia University, Teachers' College Press.
Dearing, R. (1994) The National Curriculum and Assessment. Final Report, School Curriculum and Assessment Authority .
DES (1991) Geography in the National Curriculum (England), Department of Education and Science, HMSO.
Dewey, J. (1910) How We Think, D.C. Heath.
--(1929) The Sources of a Science of Education, Horace Liveright.
--(1938) Logic: The Theory of Inquiry, Henry Holt.
Dunkerley, S.M. (1992) 'The implementation of National Curriculum Geography in one primary school', unpublished MA dissertation, Institute of Education, University of London.
Elliott, J. (1981) 'The teacher as researcher within award-bearing courses', in R.J. Alexander and J.W. Ellis (eds) Advanced Study for Teachers, Teacher Education Study Group, Society for Research into Higher Education, distributed by Naferton Books.
--(1991) Action Research for Educational Change, Open University Press.

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