Ofsted: Very Few Primary Teachers Trained To Teach Geography
Ofsted has found very few primary school teachers have actually been trained to teach geography, with nearly half of schools not meeting national curriculum standards in the subject.
The finding came from a series of geography subject inspections where the watchdog visited 23 outstanding-rated primary schools between January and March 2020.
Iain Freeland, Ofsted subject lead for geography, published a blog today which also revealed around half of schools did not meet the scope or ambition of the national curriculum.
Geography: A Forgotten Subject
Despite such an inspiring philosophy, national curriculum geography has slipped in importance on the school timetable.Ofsted research has revealed that pupils achievement in geography is weaker than in most other subjects and the number of children choosing to study it at GCSE is falling.
There isnt one clear reason for geographys decline instead there are a number of issues affecting schools. Many primary geography teachers feel they are not confident in the subject and have little opportunity to improve their knowledge of it. Also there is such a strong push for literacy and numeracy skills that other subjects can be pushed to one side.
Another issue is the lack of field trips, one of the most enjoyable parts of geography. Many schools are not doing as many as they should because of a lack of funds and staff resources and worries about health and safety.
Understanding And Teaching Primary Geography
- Tessa Willy – Kingston University, London, UK
Other Titles in:
This is a sizeable tome that will make an excellent staffroom resource so all teachers can follow the guidance set out by the book. Sadly, geography is a subject that can be sidelined but it is important for children as geography shapes the world around us and is an essential part of everyday life – it’s also an absorbing subject which children enjoy for its relevance to themselves. This book emphasises and facilitates good teaching of primary geography to extend children’s world awareness and help them make connections between their own environmental and geographical experiences the case studies are especially helpful for this.
Sarah BrewParents in Touch
Good resource in relation to progression within the subject. Good coverage within the chapters on a range of topics.
Dr JULIE DARMODYSCITT and EBITT, THE SHIRE FOUNDATION
You May Like: Geometry Segment Addition Postulate Worksheet
Primary Geography With Context
High-quality geography boasts an impressive pedagogical repertoire, which is illustrated below by reference to its aspects of geographical enquiry, outdoor learning and fieldwork, childrens personal geographies, spatial awareness, mapwork and graphicacy, learning technologies and environmental geography. These should be used to deepen childrens understanding of challenging and, at times, controversial realities, events and concepts.
The enquiry approach to learning is one of geographys strongest assets . Conducting geographical enquiries develops proficiency in asking relevant questions, collecting and analysing data, and drawing conclusions. Children aged four and five can make simple tally charts about features passed on their journey to school and consider what this information tells them, while 1011-year-olds can interrogate sophisticated data by comparing weather and climate charts to explain local seasonal variations. Geographical enquiry is thoughtful and creative, enabling children of all ages to engage in constructive and imaginative ways to learn .
References And Eric Resources
The following list of resources includes references used to prepare this Digest. The items followed by an ED number are in the ERIC system and are available in microfiche and paper copies from the ERIC Document Reproduction Service . For information about prices, contact EDRS, 3900 Wheeler Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia 22304 telephone numbers are 703-823-0500 and 800-227-3742. Entries followed by an EJ number are annotated monthly in CIJE , which is available in most libraries. EJ documents are not available through EDRS however, they can be located in the journal section of most libraries by using the bibliographic information provided below.
Buggey, JoAnne, and James Kracht. “Geographic Learning.” In ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SOCIAL STUDIES: RESEARCH AS A GUIDE TO PRACTICE, BULLETIN 79, edited by V. A. Atwood. Washington, DC: National Council for the Social Studies, 1985.
Council of Chief State School Officers . GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION AND THE STATE. Washington, DC. Council of Chief State School Officers, 1988. ED number will be assigned.
Grosvenor, Gilbert. “Geographic Ignorance: Time for a Turnaround.” NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE 167 : 6.
Haas, Mary E. AN ANALYSIS OF GEOGRAPHIC CONCEPTS AND LOCATIONS IN ELEMENTARY SOCIAL STUDIES TEXTBOOKS: GRADES ONE THROUGH FOUR. . ED number will be assigned.
Haas, Mary E. THE PERCEPTION OF OTHER NATIONS BY STUDENTS IN NORTHWEST ARKANSAS. . ED 257 710.
Saveland, Robert A. “Map Skills Around the World.” SOCIAL EDUCATION 47 : 206-210. EJ 278 675.
Recommended Reading: Geometry Dash Demon Key Hack
Carrying Out Enquiries And Making Decisions
Before exploring enquiry-based learning, it is important to distinguish between geographical questions as an organisational tool and as a pedagogy. In the former, the teacher poses a geographical question and selects the curriculum content that allows pupils to reach an answer. As a pedagogy, geographical enquiry is described as any activity that opens up problems and issues, encourages questions and begins to find solutions.
Within the geography education community, there is a long tradition of using enquiries, including decision-making exercises. Although no longer explicitly set out in the national curriculum, the enquiry approach is still reflected in GCSE specifications and in the non-examined assessment at A level. Studies have advocated for this approach because it can support pupils gaining an insight into disciplinary knowledge. Drawing on her earlier work, Roberts identifies 4 essential characteristics of an enquiry-based approach:
it is question-driven and encourages a questioning attitude towards knowledge
pupils analyse geographical data and sources of information as evidence
pupils interpret information for themselves to develop understanding
pupils reflect on their learning
checking that pupils are secure in the prior knowledge they need to carry out the enquiry
structuring tasks carefully, such as ensuring that there is sufficient teacher instruction, guidance and scaffolding for pupils to learn the intended content
Geography Lessons ‘not Good Enough In Half Of Schools’
Childrens knowledge of capital cities, continents, world affairs and the environment is in sharp decline because of poor geography lessons, inspectors warned today.
In a damning report, Ofsted said teaching in the subject was not good enough in more than half of English state schools.
Geography traditionally a cornerstone of the curriculum is often undermined by a lack of space in school timetables after being edged out by exam practice and other subjects such as citizenship.
Many primary teachers lacked specialist geographical knowledge, the watchdog said, meaning classes often descended into a focus on superficial stereotypes. The subject had practically disappeared in one-in-10 primaries.
In secondary schools, classes were often merged with history to form generic humanities lessons that focused on vague skills instead of geographical understanding.
Ofsted said the decline severely reduced childrens ability at all ages to grasp key geographical issues, identify countries or capital cities and even read maps properly.
In the worst secondary schools, most students were spatially naïve and unable to “locate countries, key mountain ranges or other features with any degree of confidence, the study said.
She added: Where provision is weaker, schools should focus on developing pupils core knowledge in geography, particularly their sense of place.
Geography is currently a compulsory subject for pupils aged five to 14.
Very Few Teachers Trained To Teach Geography
During their inspections Ofsted found that very few teachers had actually been trained in teaching geography, although some could remember a brief session as part of their initial teacher training.
They said this meant in some cases teachers were introducing errors or not drawing out important concepts.
Pupils often struggled to recall places they had studied, including UK cities and oceans, Ofsted said.
The inspectorate also found important geographical skills, such as using maps, globes, aerial photographs and location language were not taught particularly well.
In some schools, teachers were making good use of the plentiful supply of globes, atlases and maps at various scales. In others, this was less common.
Inspectors also observed there were very few schools working with secondary schools which limited the precision with which primaries set curriculum goals to ensure pupils are prepared for the next phase of education.
The watchdog previously found there was limited communication between primary and secondary schools when conducting a similar review of languages in outstanding primaries.
Problems With A Topic
Using a topic-based approach to teach across subjects is common in primary schools and special schools, but Ofsted warns that this is extremely complicated.
The inspectorate adds: Thematic or topic-based approaches are designed to make the most of a multidisciplinary structure in a school.
“However, in such an approach, the clarity of the curriculum goals can be lost. Potentially, one subject can dominate at the expense of the others. This is especially the case if a teachers subject knowledge is stronger in one subject than others.
Ofsted says that to construct this kind of curriculum across subjects effectively requires the most expert teachers with strong multidisciplinary knowledge.
Read Also: Geometry Dash Hack No Survey
Vision What They Start With And What They Leave With
Geography is a subject that is packed with excitement and wonder. It helps children gain a better understanding of our worlds people, places and environments, and the interactions between them. Geography helps children to understand how and why places are changing, and to better imagine, predict and work towards what the future may hold. Underpinning all of this is strong spatial awareness that deepens our understanding of what places are like, why and how they are connected.
This vision of geography is what our geography curriculum at Hillside is built around. Through our carefully tailored curriculum, children will develop into explorers. We aim to excite children about the possibilities of what the world has in store for them to explore and experience. Children should leave Hillside with a sense of their place in the world, both culturally and physically, and a desire to enquire into the world around them.
Components Composites And Schema
In mapping progression over the course of a programme of study, a well-constructed curriculum sets out the substantive knowledge that pupils need to learn in a connected way. To do so, critically, the curriculum identifies this substantive knowledge in components or small chunks. For example, in the early years and key stage 1, these components include associating geographical features or processes with the language used to describe them and more generally equipping pupils with the common vocabulary that geographers use.
This builds a strong and increasingly complex schema, or interconnected web of knowledge, that helps pupils to connect individual pieces of knowledge and remember it in the long term. A curriculum designed in such a way ensures that the breadth of knowledge is covered and that pupils remember more of the content studied. A well-structured geography curriculum is also likely to generate curiosity which, in turn, encourages pupils motivation.
Don’t Miss: Who Are Paris Jackson’s Biological Parents
How Can I Support My Child With Geography
The curriculum content may appear daunting, but dont panic you are already an accomplished geographer! Your daily life constantly provides you with rich geographical experiences, information and understanding. You think and act geographically, often without realising it. It comes naturally as you navigate your way around your home and neighbourhood as you make sense of local and world news as you respond to the weather forecast, as you decide on a holiday location and how to get there.
When out and about in your local area, you can help your child geographically by chatting about local physical features, attractions and activities. You might even like to develop this idea by asking them to provide a tourist guide for their local area for visiting relatives.
On a journey, you can share the road map or map phone app with your son or daughter so they can follow the route while you talk about where you are going. Alternatively, ask them to draw a map of their journey to school or the local shop, including any natural or man-made features along the way.
Holidays are an ideal opportunity to compare the location with their home area you might ask your child to talk through five similarities and differences, for example. Holidays also provide an opportunity for a museum visit or a trip to a tourist attraction.
Further support and useful websites
The BBC Bitesize websites link to videos, games and information a wide range of geographical knowledge:
Geography And History In Primary School
Info: 2617 words Essay 18th May 2017 inEducation
This essay will show an understanding of the subjects geography and history and the links between them. It will then look at the implications of these links for both the teacher and school curriculum. My own examples from school and others experiences will be used throughout the essay to highlight the links and implications discussed.
Turner-Bisset explains that history is a reconstruction of the past using evidence. She argues that evidence enables individuals to prove things, but if there is no evidence then individuals can hypothesise and use others understanding to form interpretations. Fines and Nichol define history as a process and teachers need to create activities whereby children can act as historians exploring both primary and secondary sources. Like with all National Curriculum subjects, history in key stages one and two is broken down into knowledge, skills and understanding. The Department for Education and Employment highlight that history is an important subject because it allows children to consider how the past affects the present world in which they live. Moreover, it enables children to look at how societies in the past were organised and what they were like. They argue through studying the past children begin to develop an awareness of chronology, diversity and how their actions can potentially affect others.
The Nature Of Geographical Education
The importance of a high-quality geographical education has been well emphasised, including through an international charter. Establishing what a pupil should know and be able to do at different points throughout their education is, however, less well defined. This is despite the attempts of different groups over many years.
Many geographical education academics show how complex it is to reach a definition of a high-quality geography education. In geography, general statements may be the best that can be reached. From here, with guidelines and principles, it is for the teacher to interpret and develop these generalisations in their own context.
Nonetheless, a clearly mapped journey starting in the early years and developing through the curriculum is critical if pupils are to move towards becoming experts in the subject. This has been described as working towards abstract clarity, which in turn imparts meaning to everything else below it.
As a subject that incorporates as much from the natural sciences as the social sciences, the structure of the geography curriculum is complex. However, rarely do these exist in isolation. Indeed, one of the strengths of geography is that it brings them together. Geography must have a curriculum that respects both discourses and the interplay between them.
Why Pshe Is An Essential Part Of 21st
PSHE is a statutory requirement, but not an examined subject, so it’s in a unique position where schools are able to adapt and change it to fit their context
At the start of this academic year I asked all of my PSHE classes from Year 7-Year 11 two questions: Is PSHE important? and Why?.
I did this anonymously using post it notes and a dropbox so that the students didnt feel that they had to say it was important just because I was there. The responses I read where overwhelmingly in favour of the importance of PSHE and the reasons, although varied, did have a central theme:
PSHE is important because it teaches the skills necessary to navigate the wider world and stay safe.
As a teacher and Specialist Leader of Education for PSHE I couldnt agree more. The modern world is changing faster and faster and with this change comes greater risks and challenges for our young people.
PSHE is in a unique position in that it is a statutory requirement in schools but it is not an examined subject so does not have a rigid specification to follow or complete. This means that schools are able to adapt and change to fit their individual context.
That being said PSHE does still have guidelines and content to cover, it just means that schools can be more flexible in how they do this compared to many other subjects. The PSHE curriculum has three strands to it:
- Personal Wellbeing
- Economic Wellbeing
Read Also: Parallax Error Camera
The Position In Secondary Schools
In contrast, there has been a steady rise in the number of pupils studying geography after the age of 14. The number of pupils entering the GCSE has risen sharply. In 2010, almost 170,000 pupils were entered for GCSE Geography in English schools. By 2019, the number had risen to over 251,000, an increase of nearly 50%, even though the number of 16-year-olds fell by 9% in the same period. There is a clear link between this rise and the introduction of the English Baccalaureate in 2010. This performance measure is based on a suite of qualifications that must include geography or history.
Throughout this period, entry rates for boys have been slightly higher than for girls. The increase in entries came disproportionately from disadvantaged pupils, pupils from Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, and those with lower prior attainment.
Attainment has remained broadly similar over the last 10 years. Approximately a fifth of pupils gain grades 7, 8 and 9 and 7 out of 10 pupils gain a grade 4 or better .
The number of students taking geography at A level has also risen but at a much less marked rate. Again, this is set in the context of the falling number of 18-year-olds across the country. Since the current A level specifications were introduced in 2016, the gender gap in geography has been one of the smallest of all subjects.