My best lesson - Repackage geography and get hired, not fired

20th March 2015 at 00:00

The progression from GCSE to AS-level geography always presents difficulties, so I tend to cover "rebranding places" as the first topic. This focuses on the re-imaging and regenerating of rural and urban spaces.

Beginning with this subject allows me to roll out an icebreaker - I'm always keen to get new classes talking to each other and working on group tasks in the early lessons.

So after handing out books and giving an introduction to the course, I split the students into four random groups. Each group is assigned a profession and a project. For example:

  • Council workers have to rebrand our local high street.
  • Publicists have to rebrand the chef Nigella Lawson - or another celebrity who has been in the news.
  • Advertisers have to rebrand funding body Sport England.
  • Developers have to rebrand mobile phone company BlackBerry.
    • Over two lessons and one homework session, the students create a presentation detailing how they would approach their rebranding and a flow chart showing their decision-making processes. On the day of the final presentations, I set up an Apprentice-style boardroom (with the theme tune playing in the background) and invite the school marketing manager and members of the upper-sixth class to join me in grilling the students.

      The activity works really well as an introduction to the AS course. It gets the students talking to each other, blows away the cobwebs of the summer and creates a solid foundation for the rest of the year. It can also be updated depending on who is in the news, helping the students to engage in the realism of the task.

      Tim Parker teaches at Yarm School in North Yorkshire. Find him on Twitter at @ParkerGeog

      Download the plan for this lesson

      Tell us about your best lesson



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