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Education a-z

CONTINUUM GUIDE TO GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION. By Graham Butt. pound;16.99. Continuum

The aim of this A-Z guide is quick access to information on geography education. It provides a helpful reference source to key issues, relevant societies and journals, government bodies, legislation and reports.

I sometimes find A-Z formats frustrating because they trade depth for ease of access, but Graham Butt has avoided superficiality with occasional mini-essays on key topics (for example, aims of education or assessment), plus suggestions for further reading (as in the ever-useful "Dictionary of Human Geography").

The guide will provide the answers to those nagging questions such as "How were the points of the development education compass rose labelled?" or "What is this action research I keep hearing about?". It also has a comprehensive addresses section, though websites are only included under individual entries.

Coverage of educational theory an developments is thorough and up-to-date. Definitions of topics (such as weather) are intentionally brief - a standard geography dictionary would be more useful if this is a key need.

If you are looking for interesting coffee-time reading, try "small biographies of individuals who have influenced the worlds of geography andor education". The selection of these educators is recognised as "reasonably objective but somewhat arbitrary" - those with 12 or more references in the "Bibliography of Geographical Education 1970-97". This leaves out some current names, such as David Leat, though he does get full mention under "Thinking through Geography".

This guide would be particularly useful to geography education students on the rapid learning curve at the start of a course, and a valuable addition to the bookshelf of any geography department office.

Liz Taylor is a lecturer in geography education at the University of Cambridge

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