Key stage 3

1st December 2000 at 00:00
GTHINKING ABOUT DISASTERS. Resource pack for 14-16 year olds. pound;14.99.

VALUES IN ACTION. Christian Aid. pound;7.99

My "Geography - What's in the news?" board was always full of disasters, despite efforts to widen its scope. For most people disasters are the occasions when geography enters the news and raises for a short period the important questions which are not so newsworthy - why do poor people tend to suffer? Why do people continue to live in hazardous locations? How can disasters be prevented?

It is these deeper questions that Christian Aid wants schools to explore using this pack and an excellent 30-minute video.

There is sufficient geographical content to use these materials in several contexts in the key stage 3 programme - volcanic activity, hazards and how people respond, climate, environmental management and stages of development. The look at volcanic eruption on Montserrat exposes the problems for those who stayed. The case study of Bangladesh highlights both the management of life in a country with recurring cyclones and the wider issue of the cycle of poverty. Both case studies are supported by information and worksheets that explain the geophyscal processes, such as the factors that contribute to the regular flooding of the Ganges delta.

The case studies of Kosovo and Sierra Leone show the stark reality of genocide and how the international community can intervene. If schools are to take global citizenship seriously students need to know how such conflicts start as well.

The study of faith in action in an RE context is often based on well-known figures from the past such as Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa. Values in Action offers a refreshing and imaginative approach by introducing three living followers of different faiths - Rastafarianism, Hinduism and Christianity - who have identified needs in their own community and set out to make a difference. In Kingston, Jamaica, Angela, a Rastafarian, helps young people to gain skills to improve their lives. Rukmini, a Hindu, works with the "dalit" (oppressed) women in Andhra Pradesh and Pastor John leads a similar programme in Ghana. This pack will help to counter stereotypes as well as raise awareness of activities not described in conventional textbooks.

Mark Williamson is general adviser for humanities in the London borough of Hounslow

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