Editorial: The Geography of the Games

By Norman, Melanie | Teaching Geography, Spring 2012 | Go to article overview

Editorial: The Geography of the Games


Norman, Melanie, Teaching Geography


The focus for this edition of Teaching Geography is the Olympic and Paralympic Games and it includes a range of teaching ideas on how to use this global event in lessons. Articles also pose questions about the sustainability of the Games and suggest the geography of the Games will continue long after 2012.

Becoming the new editor of Teaching Geography is a great honour. I am following in the footsteps of two geography educators for whom I have enormous respect, Mary Biddulph and Margaret Roberts. My challenge is to match their dedication to the journal and to maintain the high quality of its editorial content.

The Spring 2012 issue has been an exciting place to start with its keen focus on the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Bob Digby reminds us of the reasons behind the success of the bid and discusses the contested nature of the term 'sustainability'. Bob suggests that the 'creative geography teacher' can develop activities to enable pupils 'to investigate whether London's 201 2 Games are bringing benefits or problems to the people of east London'- a challenge which I hope many of you will take up.

Andrew Smith's article on urban regeneration has strong links with the issues in east London and Nicola Walshe's article tracks her students' developing understanding of sustainability through dialogicdiaries.AlexMurchie, a geography teacher in Beijing, suggests that China's 2008 Olympic legacy has proved difficult to sustain.

Clearly, it will not be possible for everyone to undertake a field trip to the Olympic site, but ideas outlined in articles by John Widdowson and Chris Fisher can be adapted for use in your local area. Given that fieldwork is still statutory at key stages 1,2 and 3, it is worrying to read John's comment that, 'too many students go through their whole geographical education without experiencing a field trip'.

Other featured articles provide excellent ideas for classroom-based activities with resources available to download from the Teaching Geography pages of the GA website. Kate Amis suggests an activity which allows students to arrive at an enquiry question; Martin Sutton's ideas for lessons relating to weather and sporting activities provide an engaging way of addressing what Martin describes as an 'unpopular topic' at key stage 3; Paula Cooper proposes using Gapminderand Worldmapperto pursue issues of uneven development. All these excellent ideas can be adapted to address topics other than the Olympics in the future.

The revision of the National Curriculum is another vital issue for geography teachers in 2012. …

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