Wednesday, 29 July 2009

GA Teachers Toolkit

After two years, the final proofs have been checked, and the book "Look at it this Way" is in the final stages and should be in stock for the start of the new Autumn term (early October at the latest: it has to come from China...)
Great news !

My LOOK AT LANDSCAPES blog will hold a range of additional ideas and resources to accompany the book. These will include:
  • further weblinks on the theme of landscapes
  • further images of landscapes for use in the classroom
  • some 'out-takes' that didn't make the final textbook
  • further ideas for developing the lesson ideas in the book
I will also add new 'labels' to the posts which will identify which lesson from the book is being supported. There will also be further materials and support on the GA website, as part of a recognition that a book should not 'end' with the actual physical product itself.

I will also be looking to showcase work that colleagues have prepared in response to the content of the book, and would be very pleased to see examples of student work. I already have some examples of that, but others can be sent to me at the GA.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

David Lambert's presentation

Several teachers have created NINGS to support colleagues.
The GA's NING has a list of some of these that we are aware of at the bottom of the main page.

One new one is Tony Batista's SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE NING.
This has a version of David Lambert's IoE presentation that was used at the Geography Alive ! conference last week in Bristol...
Nice work - let us know of any other geography NINGS that you know about...

Good teachers are made in the classroom

A good article which I blogged about last year, and is well worth reading.
In the INDEPENDENT newspaper.

A few quotes:

The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers

We need to accept that teaching need no longer be a career for life; that highly able people can add a huge amount to a school in just a few years.

We would give all teachers a financial entitlement to spend on their own professional development, integrated with the performance review process and supported by a mentor. This would give teachers autonomy over their own development while allowing schools to guide this development through support and appraisal.

Monday, 13 July 2009

SAGT Conference

This annual event takes place this year on the 31st of October at the Edinburgh Academy in Edinburgh.

This year's SAGT keynote speakers include the mountaineer and author Andy Cave, and Ollie Bray. The theme is "Today's Geography , Tomorrow's World".

I will be doing Workshop 10: "A Different View : what's your view ?"

Go HERE to download your conference programme and book a place. (PDF download)

The conference costs £60 for non-SAGT members, and £35 for SAGT members

The description of my workshop is below:

A Different View”: what’s your view ?
Presenter Alan Parkinson
Secondary Curriculum Development Leader, Geographical Association
In April 2009, the Geographical Association published its ‘manifesto for geography’. Called ‘a different view’, it explores the nature of school geography, and suggests an approach to teaching the subject called ‘living geography’.
The manifesto takes the form of a booklet with stunning images and text, a poster and postcard set, and a website packed with resources including a range of multimedia content. It is entirely self-funded by the GA. As with the last four years at SAGT, I would appreciate some interactivity from delegates (whether or not you opt for my session). Please take the time to visit the manifesto website at: and e-mail your ‘views’ to me at aparkinson AT

The seminar is designed for all levels from S1 upwards: as the manifesto is applicable to all phases. Delegates attending the workshop will go away with a range of materials to use immediately, as well as some suggestions for encouraging students to develop their own ‘different view’ of the
world – the manifesto is intended to provoke debate, and support engaging teaching.

You can also catch David Rogers. Come along to the GA stand too, and meet John Halocha.

Friday, 10 July 2009


The Diplomas are coming...

A diploma for Humanities and Social Sciences is due to be taught from 2011. I blogged about this a few weeks ago when I attended a consultation event...

Two other Diplomas with geographical content, which are already underway include

We would like to collect some examples of schools working with exciting geography, but in the spirit of the Diploma i.e. that could be:
  • in collaboration with employers and perhaps colleges and university,
  • perhaps some employer led work,
  • perhaps cross phase,
  • perhaps some off site working.
Does that sound like your department ?

Please contact Alan Parkinson or John Lyon at the GA, or leave a comment below and we'll get in touch.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Effective Teachers

The results of a two year ESRC funded research project into what makes effective teachers have just been released...

“More effective teachers create a positive climate for learning by challenging pupils’ ideas, inspiring them, being more innovative in their practice and differentiating amongst pupils according to their abilities and interests where appropriate”. This means, according to Professor Day, “Pupils have more control over and engagement in their learning and more opportunities for success”.

The results show the best teachers are not necessarily those with the most experience. They are the ones with enthusiasm for their work, high aspirations for the success of every pupil, positive relations, high motivation, commitment and resilience. Combining good knowledge of their subject and teaching practice and providing support tailored to the individual needs of each child, these teachers focus on building self esteem, engendering trust and maintaining respect.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Google Earth GIS Training

Advance notice of a session on "cheap GIS solutions" that will be facilitating at 4pm next Tuesday at the Brinsworth Training Centre, opposite CENT near the MAGNA centre....
The event is being organised by the GA Rotherham Branch.
I will be talking about the use of cheap GIS solutions: particularly the use of Google Earth, which could be used in a progressive way to map data and connect it to a location.
I will mention a range of projects, including Noel Jenkins' impressive Wellington Stories project.

I would be happy to repeat this, or similar sessions for other GA branch meetings.