Improving Geographical Thinking in the Classroom with the Curriculum Making Model

Introduction

This paper examines and evaluates a curriculum artefact that could be used in teaching about food aid as a strategy to alleviate the problem of food shortage in the Secondary Four human geography chapter on Food Resources. This paper discusses the Curriculum Making model introduced by the Geographical Association (2012) as its main curriculum theory to evaluate the chosen artefact. It evaluates the role of the teacher as a curriculum maker and the curriculum artefact’s effectiveness in allowing the students to think geographically. In doing so, it critically evaluates the geography that is being taught and learnt in the classroom.

In recent years there have been many concerns raised by academic geographers on the teaching and learning of geography in United Kingdom (UK) as a subject in school and the role of teachers in teaching it. Many debates have risen over the geography being learnt in the classroom with the revision of the National Curriculum in UK in 2008 (Lambert & Morgan, 2009).

On a curriculum level, there have been arguments put forward to transform the current UK school geography curriculum into a knowledge-based curriculum (Young, 2010), where careful attention is given to the selection of geography content to be taught in the classrooms to connect it closer to the subject discipline (Lambert & Morgan, 2009), to allow students to study geography holistically (Rawding, 2013) and not through a selection of content or concepts which are incoherent. Besides the content, there has been a greater emphasis on the student learner. Proposals have been made to include students’ everyday lived experiences and interests into subject content to make it more meaningful and relevant for them and to help them connect larger global issues with local ones (Brooks, 2006; Biddulph, 2013). Roberts (2014) has also asserted the need to equip young people with the necessary thinking skills and values that will allow them to access the content knowledge and to make it meaningful for them. 

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An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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