Global guide to post-16 geography

5th December 1997 at 00:00

HANDBOOK OF POST-16 GEOGRAPHY. Edited by Andrew Powell. Geographical Association. Pounds 25 members (Pounds 37.50 non-members) from The Geographical Association, 160 Solly Street, Sheffield S1 4BF.

The Geographical Association's Handbook of Post-16 Geography provides authoritative, comprehensive and stimulating coverage of geographical education in the 16-19 sector. All 24 contributors give essential information and practical advice in a clear and readable format.

The book is divided into eight sections, each dealing with a key theme: the current position of post-16 geography; management and planning; A-level courses; vocationaladult courses; environmental, social and political dimensions; fieldwork; links with higher education; and resources.

The text is skilfully edited, clearly structured and reads well. Tables and diagrams are used to good effect, and references are helpful and - most importantly for the post-16 teacher - accessible. The photographs at the start of each section give authenticity, and there is a useful index.

There are many other strong features. The book makes sense of the structure of post-16 education and of the dramatic changes of the past 10 years. It successfully places post-16 education in context, looking back to geography in compulsory schooling and forward to geography and related courses in higher education. Most importantly, it focuses on practical strategies for improving the quality of teaching and learning in geography and for securing its place in the curriculum.

The Handbook couldn't be more up to date. It deals with the Dearing Review of 1996 and the revised subject core. The geographer's role in vocational education is given a full airing, and recent concerns about modular syllabuses are discussed. Useful advice is given to centres that have experienced problems. Wider debate of modular courses is encouraged, with observations such as "by subdividing the Earth's systems rather than emphasising the complex webs of interaction, the whole view and the big geographical ideas may never be revealed".

This is a handbook for all teachers of 16-19 geography. There is advice on management issues for the subject leader, guidance on teaching and learning strategies for the classroom teacher and information of general interest to all. Student teachers and newly-qualified teachers will find it particularly useful, especially as they tend to get relatively little experience of this level on teaching practice. Essential reading for everyone involved with post-16 geography.

keith grimwade

Keith Grimwade is county adviser for geography, Cambridgeshire

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