Collecting our thoughts: school geography in retrospect and prospect

Lambert, David
March 2013
Geography;Spring2013, Vol. 98 Issue 1, p10
Academic Journal
Perhaps every generation of teachers feels they are living through a period of tumultuous change. Certainly, the period following the formation of the 2010 coalition government is experiencing its fair share of what appears to be far-reaching educational change, and the Secretary of State, Michael Gove, has a steadily-growing reputation as one of the more successful reforming ministers. Change, when close up, is often difficult to fathom, not least when trying to work out any implications for one particular and very special part of the educational landscape, namely the place of geography in the school curriculum. In this article, we take a long view on the grounds that it is sometimes helpful to have a picture of where we have come from and what comes around. This helps provide perspective. It can be instructive to note what has been lost from former times (e.g. curriculum thinking), or what has been tried and tested, and found to be wanting (e.g. an overly detailed content prescription for the national curriculum). An historical sweep may be particularly apposite when attempting to interpret current initiatives, such as the English Baccalaureate (EBacc), which ostensibly looks good for school geography (in 2012 the Ebacc has already resulted in a sharp increase in GCSE candidature). In what follows we describe a period of about 50 years, a period roughly since the Rolling Stones began performing. We end with some brief thoughts about the prospects for school geography - a distinctly riskier task that of projecting the future of the Stones as a live band.


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