The study of geography involves children in exploring the relationship and interactions between people and the environments in which they live and upon which they depend. Many of the children who now attend our school will live to see the next century and live in a world of 11 billion people. The many opportunities and challenges that will arise during their lifetime will be very much about geography – personal, local, national and global. From adapting and mitigating the impact of climate change to predicting natural hazards such as tsunami and earthquakes to understanding the causes and effects of population migration around the world, our children will need to know about geography and think like geographers. Geography helps to prepare them for life in the 21st century with all of its currently unknown possibilities.
In terms of what we teach in geography and how we encourage and support our children to learn the subject, we seek to develop young geographers who are able to make links and connections between the natural world and human activity and to understand the kinds of questions geographers ask such as: Why is this place like it is? How is it changing and what will be the costs and benefits of these changes when they happen? We therefore teach geography through question led enquiries and use The Learning Challenge Curriculum to help us do this.
What are the main principles of The Learning Challenge Curriculum?
The Learning Challenge concept is built around the principle of greater learner involvement in their work.It requires deep thinking and encourages learners to work using a question as the starting point.
In designing the curriculum, teachers and pupils are using a prime learning challenge, expressed as a question, as the starting point. Using the information gained from pre-learning tasks (such as mind mapping) a series of subsidiary challenges, also expressed as questions, are then planned.These learning challenges all fulfil the National Curriculum requirements of Geography at Key Stages 1 and 2.
It is important that the learning challenges make sense to the children and be something that is within their immediate understanding.
How are learners presented with opportunities to reflect on their learning?
We believe that time for our children to reflect or review their learning in Geography is central to the whole learning process.
Teachers hand over the final subsidiary learning challenge to the children to reflect on their learning.The idea is that the children present their learning back to the rest of the class or other appropriate audience, making the most of their oracy and ICT skills to do so.
Although reflection is seen as a concluding part of the prime learning challenge, teachers also ensure that there are continuous opportunities for children to reflect frequently.