Geography in education: exploring a definition
Geography in education: exploring a definition

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Geography in education: exploring a definition

5 Summary and conclusion

In this unit we have considered questions surrounding the future of school geography. This may at first seem an odd question, but it is salutary to remember that the advocates of geography had to work very hard to make the case for the subject's place in the English National Curriculum.

As the unit sought to show, even if we can agree that geography has an important role to play in schools, opinions vary as to the purpose of the subject:

  • Is it a vehicle for developing basic skills needed to meet the needs of industry?

  • Does it fit into a liberal vision of education?

  • Is it a vehicle for social change?

Our answers to these questions will, ultimately, affect the ways in which geography is taught in schools and are therefore important to consider, since presumably they will affect the ways in which we plan schemes of work, select curriculum content and structure teaching and learning activities.

Activity 4

  1. Devise a way of collecting students' ideas and views about the aims and purposes of geography lessons:

    • What do they like and dislike about the subject?

    • What do they see as its purpose?

    A good starting point is to read about the results of a competition in The Guardian. Click here to read the article ‘The school we'd like’ (Birkett, 2001).

  2. Share your findings with colleagues in your department.

  3. Think about what you have learned about young people's views on geography teaching that might inform the way you plan your geography courses in future.


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