Vision and values
The Access to Geography series is an ambitious undertaking of five books aimed at the whole of key stages 3 and 4. As "each book provides study material for a complete school year", this series gives a unique insight into the authors' vision of a complete geography curriculum, from 11 to 16. Book 1, published in 1991, bears testimony not only to the changes in national curriculum geography since then, but also to the improvements that have been made to this series.
The final book, together with volume 4, provide a complete GCSE course not only designed to match "a broad range of GCSE syllabuses" but also "to match as much as possible the good practice geography teachers have developed in recent years". This is a lofty claim but one which is largely born out by the extensive range of enquiry-based tasks which form an integral part of the book.
Differentiation by both task and resource is very much a practical reality for the classroom teacher using this book. The first task, eight lines into the first page, "to analyse the global economy", sets the tone for the rest of the book. Questions involve the use of "resource banks", the analysis and alteration of data, longer assignments and numerous other attempts to move beyond the familiar lists of written comprehension exercises.
Book 5 covers industrial change, a short section on transport, landscapes, weather and climate, trade and aid, and global issues. This content balances the European emphasis of Book 4. Rostow's outdated (c.1955) and discredited model of economic growth is an unwelcome intrusion in what is otherwise a thoughtful volume.
The final two chapters bring together a number of value-laden global environmental issues and tie the series together very well. This type of material, stimulatingly presented, does much for geography's cause as an essential part of a general education up to the age of 16.
o Atlantis is a magazine published annually by geography students at Lancaster University. This year's special "techno" issue, which investigates sea fisheries, green belts, reincarnation, the relationship between beards and intelligence and the use of technology in geography among other topics, has been commended by the BBC and the Geographical Association. Pounds 1.75 from: Matthew Ball, tel 01524 593759 or Andrew Dean, tel 01524 843476.