The new NSW Curriculum is rich with new ideas, outcomes, topics and requirements. In Geography, it will enrich the classroom experience and allow students to get their hands into the world around them in an active, exciting and exhilarating way.
I have started browsing the Internet in search of inspiration, ideas and amazing educators who conduct fieldwork well. It can sometimes be hard to find when you can not see or hear their instruction, only carefully read their blogs, websites and student worksheets. As a teacher of Geography, there is no better way to calm an unsettled year 9 class than fieldwork. Students love the interaction they have with nature, the ability to dissect their worlds and look into the secret lives of others.
Years ago, while teaching in a challenging school, I had a large unruly group of 14-15 year old’s who were very disengaged with school. They loved outdoor ed, sport and health. Any other subject they considered a total waste of time! I made a choice to study a new topic with them; Cultural Geography and dived head first into the geographies of graffiti. I used this topic to introduce the world of geography and some of the skills required to conduct geographic research. From that topic on, the kids were noticing a whole new world around them – the location of rubbish bins in shops, the music in car parks, location of ATM’s, lack of seating in some parks, the colour of federation buildings, the secret function of city spaces, the location of the most obscure graffiti tags. Fieldwork works!! You do not need to be the best geography teacher in the world, fieldwork engages the kids with ease. All you need is organisation, a great topic and sites to visit.
The UK Geographical Society have a wealth of resources and information on their website. I was thrilled to discover their three strategic aims:
- Strategic aim 1 – Meet professional and educational needs
- Strategic aim 2 – Demonstrate the value of geographical education
- Strategic aim 3 – Use our resources efficiently and sustainably.
As a result, they have developed a fabulous method of promoting these aims –YEAR OF FIELDWORK!
The aim of the Year of Fieldwork is:
- increase the opportunities for pupils of all ages to experience high quality fieldwork
- support the integration of fieldwork into the school curriculum from primary to post-16
- raise awareness of the importance of fieldwork as a pedagogy and as a critical tool for geographers
- promote the benefits of fieldwork as a skill across a wide range of subject areas.
There is no better time to embrace fieldwork than 2016! Prepare yourself for the changes ahead.
To help teachers and school prepare themselves for the curriculum changes, we have developed a range of geography tour that focus specifically on teaching the skill in each of the stages and topic specific content. For example, on of our tours focuses on the unit Landscapes and Landform – Stage 4: This program is designed for students to investigate the value of landscapes and landforms. Mount Panorama is an iconic Australian landform that is a far more than the location of motorsport racing. Students will investigate the aesthetic, cultural, spiritual and economic values of the landscape while learning how it has changed over time. Students will examine the value to different groups including the Wiradjuri Aboriginal people. This will ensure students explore the value of landscapes and landforms to culture and identity, have the ability to describe the cultural and spiritual value of Mount Panorama/Wahluu and relate it back to the economic value for people. Students will visit sites of cultural significance to the Wiradjuri people, areas of high economic importance, including the race precincts, and a variety of agricultural areas that include viticulture, agriculture, hospitality and other varied business types.
If you are interested in learning more about our new Geography tours, please contact us. We are also available to build a tour for you based on your curriculum choices! Enjoy the inspiration that comes with the Year of Fieldwork!