Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Curriculum Change and Notes from the GA 2015

What follows are a few headline notes form the GA Conference in Manchester; specifically focused on curriculum change for Geography in September 2016:

KEY DATES: 28th MAY 2015 - A Level Exam specs released
- AQA contact: Michelle Atherton - geography@aqa.org.uk
Launch event  (t.b.c -
- OCR  contact:Abi/Mark/Shelley - Geography@ocr.org.uk N.B Geography Journey Newsletter
Launch Event: Thursday 11th June 2015 (London) - Booking required - click here
- Eduqas contact: Andy/Alison - andy.owen@eduqas.co.uk / alison.doogan@eduqas.co.uk
- Edexcel contact:
Launch Event: 24th June 2015 (London) - Booking required - click here

FIELDWORK: Nick Lapthorn
I. Fieldwork skills will need to be built in throughout the key stages, if not already. It would be suggested that despite the removal of CA, students should still complete fieldwork days at GCSE (as they do currently for the CIE IGCSE). Having said this though, reflection must take place as to what constitutes purposeful fieldwork.
Point to consider:
 - Could IGCSE fieldwork questions come into KS3 projects to familiarise students with the thought process and build up their skill level?
 -  Need to write to S5/Deputy Head of Academic to gain support and outline the need for the days.
II. TIME & RESOURCES must be allocated/built into the school curriculum, if fieldwork is to be successful. This links to the 2 days mandatory fieldwork at AS and 4 days at A Level. LOCAL focus preferable.
Point to consider: Very likely that the fieldwork for AS takes place in the Autumn/early Spring term and the fieldwork for the A-Level takes place in the Summer term, post AS exams (or possibly at the start of the Autumn term of Year 13)
III. One point to consider for the A Level fieldwork is that students will ultimately have limited time and resources at their disposable, so they should be made aware of this. Fieldwork independent report will focus on the PROCESS as opposed to the OUTCOME. MISTAKES are ok.
Point to consider: Pilot survey for fieldwork report could be done as part of the Aske project i.e. a mini-proposal, which is then marked and assessed then carried out of the summer with the reflections?
IV. To support centres, the project will be able to done at one centre or site, and the data collected in a group but then there must be an individual - different reports or reports focusing on different hypotheses.
III. For International trips,the following destinations were discussed e.g. Iceland, Jordan, Morocco, Sicily etc. Also,  a 'pre-brief idea' was expressed as an excellent way of engaging students during fieldwork trips and adding value/purpose.

The Human content could be tricky to teach as it could have the problem of looking nice but in reality being a bit too fluffy and again, although exciting to resource, quite demanding and time consuming; my fear is that higher order thinking skills could be easy on the surface to address but challenging for the students to nail down when considering perspectives..but maybe the assessment will be clear and that this is a good example of differentiation...time will tell!

Simon Oakes, in his GA lecture 'Thinking Global and Looking Local' sought to allay our fears about the new 'fluffy' human core part of the specification: how do we teach it? what type of content will need to be covered/generated? how will it be assessed? etc.

I. PLACES  - Oakes stressed the importance of choosing a case study where both types of geography overlapped e.g. his example of the River Mersey and the changes over time from industrialisation to deindustrialisation was well-explained. He described using rivers as the central actor in his place narrative. The performance of a river changes over time (esp when considering the global shift in manufacturing). Scale also matters - who has the power to transform the landscape - STAKEHOLDERS and their local-global interrelationship.

N.B. In Oakes' opinion, A* students will not compartmentalise the social, cultural or environmental assets as separate entities but instead see them as INTERTWINED ENTITIES. e.g. "If you don't change the river, you will not change the economy".

i. GLOBAL INTERDEPENDENCE - key idea of uncertainty.
The study of the world's OCEANS would be a good example to teach globalisation through as ties in containerisation and undersea cables (telecommunications). Notions of impacts of mass consumption on fish stocks as well as impacts such as spills and risk, resistance, management and players at all scales.
ARCTIC and ENERGY with links to climate change / HOUSING MARKET
Technological leapfrogging in the form of capital or remittances  - Vodaphone's PISA scheme. Crowdsourcing.
iv. DIASPORA-Scotland and Ireland punch globally above their weight through their migrant networks.
v.LAWS AND NORMS -governance of cyberspace (not true that we live in a limitless shrunken world -cyberspace controls are good examples also idea of domestic control versus international control and scale of the operating networks.
vi. SOFT POWER  - global conflicts/disruptions

Finally to wrap things up Oakes discussed the importance of SYNOPTICITY...a word distinctly absent from the new specifications and the proposed core content....
Oakes suggested that the best way to teach the human content and to assess it would be through links to key concepts as well as a consideration of the role of rime and space...the photo below sums it up: