The human landscape;Books;Geography;Subject of the week

26th March 1999 at 00:00
Roger Carter reviews new books for the fastest-growing GCSE

HEINEMANN GEOGRAPHY FOR AVERY HILL. By Gary Cambers and Stuart Currie. WATER, LANDFORMS AND PEOPLE. pound;6.25.

PEOPLE AND PLACE POUNDS 6.25. Teacher's packs pound;41.99 each.

Avery Hill Geography has been around for more than 25 years, since the days of the Schools Curriculum Council. As a curriculum project it has survived many secretaries of state and adapted to the curriculum demands they have introduced, while holding firm to its own distinctive approach. The project has the fastest growing candidate entry list at GCSE.

This new series closely reflects the traditional Avery Hill approach. It is strongly issues-based, with a clear focus on pupils' learning needs and experiences, and an emphasis on the interdependence of teaching, learning and assessment.

Devotees of this syllabus will be delighted. Co-written by the chief examiner and principal moderator, the series is designed to cover the syllabus fully and, importantly, to support the entire ability range from GCSE A* to Certificate of Education. The books are organised to match the four syllabus units. Key skills are also identified so contributions to GNVQ and other vocational courses can be assessed through specified tasks.

The complete set of resources consists of four student books, each with its own teacher's resource pack. These contain matrices to show place and scale coverage, worksheets and stand-alone homework activities. Teachers will find the sample exam questions and mark schemes particularly useful. These are written for Foundation and Higher levels and will provide useful practice for students.

The content of Water, Landforms and People goes some way to countering the criticism that Avery Hill tends to be light on physical geography. Sections on the Okavango Delta, the Grand Canyon, and on chemical weathering of limestone landscapes are all well developed before their impact on people is considered.

People and Place deals with familiar themes - inequalities in urban areas, ways of improving the urban environment, and rural-urban interactions - all within the context of contrasting case studies. Both books contain a welcome injection of new case study material.

The student books are written directly to the reader. Organising questions provide a clear focus, and the glossary of terms is helpful. The additional resources in the teacher's pack can take able pupils into work of some depth.

In total the package will make a big hole in departmental funds, but the coverage is comprehensive, while some of the materials should prove useful for other syllabuses.

Roger Carter is adviser for geography, Jersey Education

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