Why do we think Geography is important?
The study of geography involves pupils in exploring the relationship and interactions between people and the environments in which they live and upon which they depend. Many of the pupils who now attend our school will live to see the next century and inhabit a world of 11 billion people. The many opportunities and challenges that will arise during their lifetime will be very much about geography – personal, local, national and global. From adapting and mitigating the impact of climate change to predicting natural hazards such as Tsunami and Earthquakes, to understanding the causes and effects of population migration around the world our pupils will need to know about geography and to think like geographers. Geography helps to prepare them for life in the 21st century with all of its currently unknown possibilities.
At Pakefield Primary School we intend to encourage and support our pupils to develop into young geographers who are able to make links and connections between the natural world and human activity. We support them to understand the kind of questions geographers ask such as Why is this place like it is, how is it changing and what will be the costs and benefits of these changes when they happen? In line with the statutory requirements of the school curriculum which must be balanced and broadly based, Pakefield Primary School commits to ensuring that every pupil at every stage of learning has regular and appropriately challenging and engaging learning in Geography which is informed by the National Curriculum. In addition we will ensure that what our pupils learn in Geography and how they learn it not only inspires and stretches them intellectually but also contributes to their spiritual, moral, cultural and physical development and helps to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life in the 21st century. In accordance with the importance we attach to Geography, Pakefield Primary School aims to:
Stimulate pupils’ interest in their surroundings and in the variety of human and physical conditions on the earth’s surface;
Foster pupils’ sense of wonder at the beauty of the world surrounding them;
Help pupils develop an informed concern about the quality of the environment and the future of the human habitat;
Enhance pupils’ sense of responsibility for the care of the earth and its people and secure their commitment to promoting and living sustainable lifestyles;
Develop pupils’ skills of critical enquiry and an ability to handle and interpret information, through asking and answering geographical questions and using computing to communicate with and explore a variety of people, places and environments across the world;
Help pupils explore values and attitudes about complex issues such as sustainability and sustainable development;
Enable pupils to study the above across a range of places, cultures and environments at a variety of scales, from local to global;
Foster a sense of understanding about how we are interconnected and interdependent with other people and ecosystems around the world.
What do we investigate?
A key question led enquiry approach underpins the teaching of geography at Pakefield Primary School. This encourages our pupils to take increasing responsibility for their learning, think independently and achieve challenging subject outcomes. We seek to encourage pupils to learn their geography through big question led enquiries about topics, places and themes which focuses on real people, places and geographical issues and allows them sufficient scope and time to really engage in high order subject skills such as developing explanations (even though there are very often no ‘right’ answers to questions in geography), reaching conclusions, making judgements, evaluating, applying information learned in one context to another and generating their own ideas and questions to investigate through hypothesising. Whilst knowing more subject information as the pupils progress through the school is important we are careful in our planning to ensure that there is always a balance between new content and the development of important subject skills and the ability of children to think critically about what they are learning and why.
What skills do we develop?
At Pakefield Primary School, we want pupils to become better geographers and we achieve this by recognising and planning for what becoming better at Geography entails and consequently challenging and supporting our pupils to develop as young geographers as they progress through the school. We recognise that simply knowing more information in itself will not enable our pupils to progress in being more capable of making links, seeing things more conceptually and recognising the significance of attitudes and values in shaping the world in which they live. To enable this to happen we have established an outcomes driven curriculum which recognises the crucial importance of identifying not just what we want our pupils to know and do in Geography but more crucially the intellectual outcomes we intend them to achieve by and through their learning. As pupils progress as geographers we recognise that whatever the content of their learning and the subject skills they are using our expectations of them must be focused on the following progression in subject outcomes:
Recognise – identify – Respond – Express – Basic Subject Vocabulary
Describe – Observe - Reason– Select – Speculate –Appropriate Subject Vocabulary
Classify – Categorise – Sequence – Compare and Contrast – Views and Opinions
Understanding through informed Explanation and Synthesis –Specialist Subject Vocabulary
Highlight and explain Links, Patterns, Processes and Interrelationships
Apply – Reach conclusions – Make judgements
Evaluate – Critique - Predict – Reflect – Hypothesise
Whilst we recognise that our expectations of pupil outcomes must never be confined by their stage of learning, we nevertheless ensure that in the Foundation Stage and at Key Stage 1 our core subject expectations enable pupils to learn and consolidate the fundamental attributes of a being a geographer. At this stage there is a particular focus therefore on ensuring that our pupils are able to recognise, identify, describe, observe reason and begin to offer explanations for geographical phenomena, whilst using basic and increasingly appropriate subject vocabulary.
During Lower Key Stage 2 our expectations increase proportionately as we challenge our pupils not only to know more, but also to master progressively more demanding subject outcomes such as reaching explanations through the exploration of evidence. At the same time we expect more confident and correct use of subject vocabulary from our pupils and we introduce more specialised subject vocabulary.
At Upper Key Stage 2 our expectations in Geography are that pupils will more regularly and consistently apply information that they have learned in other contexts and at other stages to make links and identify patterns in their geographical learning. We challenge them to reach conclusions and make judgements about geographical issues and to evaluate and critique evidence and to generate questions of their own.
Throughout the Key Stages, we encourage the pupils to use these range of skills to show the significance of what they have investigated.
GEOGRAPHY LEARNING GALLERY