Geography must find a way to connect

24th December 2004 at 00:00
Let me dispose of the strange assertion made in The TES ("Geography must be put on the map", TES, December 10) that the Geographical Association and I in particular want "less geographical content".

The subject is, of course, enormously rich in content and I want to see the subject discipline of geography contribute more effectively to the national curriculum and to the educational experience of far more post-14 year old students than at present.

I want all students to leave school or college at 19 not with "humanities" or "citizenship" modules on their transcripts, but exciting, critical geography.

I am also not coy about making a strong case for geography's role in contributing to informed citizenship. This is not to surrender to a "watering down" of the geography curriculum. I believe strongly that the special quality a teacher brings is the imagination and creativity to use the subject with children as the way of exciting curiosity about the real world and contributing to a deeper understanding of it.

This is why the association welcomes the surge of interest in school geography.

But we recognise the recent and current difficulties headlined by the Office for Standards in Education, and realise that a much effort will be required to release the amazing educational potential of geography.

Good geography teaching is challenging, especially for those who have not had specialist training. So as well as spreading the word, we are trying to give teachers the support, encouragement and resources to rediscover the power of geography for themselves.

David Lambert

Chief executive

Geographical Association

160 Solly Street, Sheffield

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