Lie of the land

9th January 2004 at 00:00
Liz Taylor on secondary books

You've negotiated the classroom jungle for nearly a term and survived (almost?) unscathed. You've formed 250 new relationships, assessed hundreds of pages of work, and enthused students about many aspects of geography.

How can you continue stimulating lessons and engaging teaching when the adrenalin rush is wearing off?

Build up a stock of high-quality, up-to-date published resources for your reference. From these, borrow ideas, find case studies and be re-inspired about the pleasures of teaching geography.

You should have copies of your school's textbooks, but it's useful to buy single copies from other series, particularly if your school's set hasn't been updated since Curriculum 2000. I'd recommend Geog.123 (above right) by Rose Marie Gallagher, et al (OUP, pound;9.50), Investigating Geography: A, B, and C, by Jackie Arundale, et al (Hodder and Stoughton, pound;8.99 each), and Earthworks Plus, by John Widdowson (John Murray, pound;9.50).

These books have a lively format, a variety of learning activities and well-chosen geography. In addition, their material provides ways into the key stage 3 strategy and the QCA schemes of work on topics such as fashion, crime and the geography of sport.

To encourage meaningful learning in geography, you need Learning Through Enquiry: Making Sense of Geography in the Key Stage 3 Classroom, by Margaret Roberts (Geographical Association, pound;24.99). This is full of practical, research-based strategies for developing aspects of literacy and numeracy in the context of enquiry-based learning. Alternatively, if subject knowledge is a particular focus, build up some GCSE and A-level resources - GCSE Geography in Focus, by John Widdowson (John Murray pound;14.99), and It's A World Thing, by Bob Digby, et al (OUP, pound;14.99).

The A-level magazine Geography Review (Philip Allan Updates, pound;26.95 single subscription; pound;12.95 as member of group) has up-to-date case studies and topic summaries.

For effective teaching try Thinking Through Geography, edited by David Leat, and More Thinking Through Geography, edited by Adam Nichols and David Kinninment (Chris Kington Publishing, pound;30 each). No geography department should be without them.

For lively teaching materials connected with development, fair trade and sustainable development, look at the on-line educational catalogues for charities such as Oxfam and ActionAid, or visit your nearest Development Education Centre. Simulations such as The Trading Game (Christian Aid, pound;3.50) remain favourites. These types of activities require a bit of preparation, but are memorable, and great for kinaesthetic learners.

For moments of desperation? A copy of World Puzzle Book, by Andrew Dalwood (Geographical Association, pound;14.99) will ensure that you always have something to use when the internet goes down or you have an emergency cover lesson. For more "challenging" groups, You Know The Fair Rule, by Bill Rogers (Financial Times Prentice Hall, pound;18.99) gives strategies for effective classroom management, bar the shouting.

Every geography teacher should be a member of the Geographical Association.

The quarterly magazine, Teaching Geography (associate membership with subscription pound;23.75, full membership, pound;47.75 ) will keep you up to date with news and practical, innovative ideas. To join the annual conference, this year in Canterbury, visit

Liz Taylor lectures in geography education at the University of Cambridge

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today