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GA awards

Mary Cruikshank reports on the Geographical Association awards

Geography is a resource-rich subject, as anyone who has visited the Geographical Association's exhibition knows. The GA's awards, introduced in 1988, help teachers identify the most successful resources, but they also reflect trends in publishing and the impact of curriculum change.

The gold award winner, Planning for Sustainability, shows the valuable contribution a planning department can make to geography resources. The judges encouraged other regions to follow the south-west's example.

This year's panel also welcomed a major advance in textbooks, which offered "much more text". GCSE Geography in Focus was praised for its depth of coverage and extended case studies. The influence of David Leat's Thinking Through Geography (gold award winner in 1998) was evident here, as in other publications.

Citizenship featured strongly in many of the 41 entries, to the extent that judges asked: "Where's the geography?" These cross-curricular publications needed to be less abstract and to offer more specific geography content.

Primary geographers were less well served than in previous years. Bright, attractive publications, such as Oxfam's Your World, My World and Nia's First Day, Pont books, were submitted, but were considered too unchallenging. "Primary teachers are ready to move on from worksheet activities and want resources that help children discuss and formulate their own ideas, based on real-life case studies," said the judges.

Primary publications were also described as insufficiently issues-based and failing to address concepts such as cause and effect.

The Geographical Association annual conference takes place at UMIST, Manchester, April 3 - 5;

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