Why do we learn Geography?
We study geography so that we understand the world to transform it.
In our curriculum we seek to:
Inspire fascination about our world.
Make connections between the human and physical systems.
Take action to mitigate climate change, live sustainably and reduce inequality.
Our curriculum is distinctly Christian as we challenge our students to be aspirational and hopeful for their own lives and for the world, we encourage courageous advocacy for change in our world, particularly in the areas of climate change and inequality, and through teaching about a range of places and people we celebrate difference. The rationale for this comes from the teachings in the Bible which direct Christians to steward over the earth and sacrificially love all people, just as demonstrated by Jesus.
Head of Department
Our curriculum will challenge students by containing ambitious, powerful knowledge, drawing on the fundamental concepts of space, place, scale and environment. Cross curricular links have been considered, for example mathematic literacy in the use of graphical, statistical skills. Rather than being taught discreetly, this is applied to a geographical context. We have strategically mapped our use of graphical, cartographical and statistical skills so that students are challenged to analyse and produce for themselves a range of ways that geographical information can be presented. Developing oracy through reading aloud in class, is another way challenge is embedded into our curriculum at each key stage. Reading is shown to develop student’s vocabulary and subsequent writing. If we intend our students to think and write like geographers, they must read like geographers.
Teachers will demonstrate deep and up-to-date subject knowledge through atomised explanations in order to best benefit our students. Teachers will communicate subject content with passion and urgency, carefully constructing tasks that allow for thinking hard, and building schema which result in knowledgeable and skilled geographers. Explanations are carefully chunked and use dual-coding techniques in order that students grasp complex and challenging concepts or systems. Explanations are scaffolded by ensuring that our students with learning needs have defined key terms to refer to and using numbered steps, alongside images to break down each step.
Modelling is a key element of our curriculum and will take place in a range of contexts and scales. Teachers will model tasks to enable successful student engagement and model excellence through model answers in order to demonstrate to students how to achieve excellence in geography. Each unit will be introduced using “models of excellence” which has the purpose of modelling what excellent geography looks like by the end of a unit or sequence of lessons, understanding of assessment criteria at KS4 and KS5 and fostering a motivation/enthusiasm for geography. Models of excellence will demonstrate geographical thinking, analysis, coming to conclusions, clear and accurate explanations and location and map skills.
Independent practice and enquiry are at the heart of what it is to be a geographer. At KS4 and KS5 exam style questions are used to challenge students understanding and apply knowledge, both during lessons and for homework. Summative assessments feature to assess students’ knowledge over a longer period of time but will incorporate mixed and spaced practiced by questioning students on previous units and in mixed orders in order to improve knowledge recall and retention. Interim knowledge checks are also utilised throughout units of work to diagnose student’s knowledge recall and to inform future lesson planning. Learning doesn’t exclusively occur in the classroom, therefore as a department we devise homework which has the objectives of practice, assessment, application or consolidation. At KS5 tasks will also include research and independent enquiry. Overall, learning at home should increase student’s knowledge and understanding of geography. Home learning tasks will be issued once per week at KS3 and KS4, once per teacher/per week at KS5. All learning is differentiated for learners by opting for multiple choice questions for students with significant learning needs.
For student’s learning process to be as effective as possible, students must receive accurate and timely feedback on their work. Students will receive timely, specific feedback through live marking, in order to quickly check for understanding, address misconceptions and identify areas for improvement in practice and knowledge. Independent assessed tasks are strategically positioned at points where both skills and knowledge are being assessed at key knowledge points within each unit. A sample of students will receive feedback and whole-class feedback will be responded to by the whole class. Feedback will be structured in a praise, question, response format, therefore the student will respond to the question in order to develop their knowledge (this will be done in green pen). During the lesson students will also use green pen (in order that the teacher can easily identify self -assessment/improvement) in their books. This will be reviewed when the teacher circulates the room.
Questioning is an equally key feature of our geography curriculum. Teachers will employ a range of closed and open questions, differentiated to the student. Most usually, this will be done in a directed or in a ‘cold calling’ fashion, to ensure the teacher hears from the greatest number of students and can differentiate the question by student. There will be appropriate occurrences for open, discussion style questions, particularly when focussing on content which may allow for opinion or evaluation. Questioning will also draw on knowledge from previous learning, in order to demonstrate the connections between themes and encourage retrieval. Questioning will also take place using whiteboards, this enables teachers to gain teachers to check for understanding and expose any misconceptions.
Christian distinctiveness: our Christian distinctiveness is embedded throughout our curriculum. It comes to fruition through a) the spoken communication from teachers to staff and b) the sources of information that we use to inform students.
In each unit of study there are opportunities to challenge our students to be aspirational and hopeful, encourage courageous advocacy and celebrate difference.