How do we want to do it?

23rd June 2000 at 01:00
THEORY INTO PRACTICE SERIES: Edited by Mary Biddulph and Graham Butt

MYSTERIES MAKE YOU THINK. By David Leat and Adam Nichols




INTO THE BLACK BOX - Classroom Observation. By Sheila King. The Geographical Association pound;7.50 (GA members pound;5) Tel: 0014 296 0088

What do you want to use this topic for?" For schools that now have a less prescriptive, more flexible curriculum, this is a crucial question. The new Order can be interpreted in many ways, of which the QCA's schemes of work are only one. The Theory into Practice series challenges us to reconsider not only how we do our geography but how we want to do it. Do we want to extend thinking skills (Mysteries Make You Think), dispel stereotypes, (Immaculate Misconceptions) or develop pupils (Global Citizens)?

The handbooks are packed full of practical ideas for teaching supported by educational research. They also demonstrate how teachers in the classroom in partnership with LEAs, colleges of education and curriculum associations are best placed to explore how to support pupils' learning and raise standards.

Mysteries Make You Think draws on the work of teachers and PGCE tutors in the north-east of England. It outlines practical classroom activities and offers ideas on how to develop challenging "thinking skills" activities which ensure pupil are engaged and challenged, and also achieve.

Immaculate Misconceptions explores the persistence of pupils' misconceptions. Research at South Bank University many years ago showed the persistence of stereotypes of Africa despite prolonged teaching of alternative views. This booklet, focusing on physical geography - deserts, weathering, etc - should reawaken concerns about pupils' stereotypes and offers ideas on how to tackle them.

Maps with Latitude deals with the key topic in geography - the variety of ways our planet is represented by globes and world maps. This booklet challenges the perspectives and stereotypes held by many people. It offers stimulating ideas to show how a study of "the globe" can explore not just the geographical aspects but also the scientific, mathematical, moral and social.

Global Citizenship Education draws on Oxfam's Curriculum for Global Citizenship and research in primary classrooms to highlight the link between developing global citizenship and a particular set of classroom methods, notably enquiry-based teaching.

Finally, the timely Into the Black Box - Observing Classrooms will help teachers and managers to develop strategies for self-review. This booklet gives practical advice on how to observe, what to observe and how to give effective feedback.

Bernie Ashmore is curriculum adviser for humanities in the London borough of Enfield and author of 'Mapping Our World' (Oxfam)

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