Geography and the Global Dimension

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'Listen to a news broadcast or open a newspaper and you cannot fail to be struck by the relevance of geography. This practical discipline enables us to understand change, conflict and key issues which impact on our lives today and which will affect our futures tomorrow.'
- David Bell, 'The value and importance of geography', in Teaching Geography, Spring 2005

This course looks at geography's contribution to learning about the global dimension. In many ways we might expect geography to be at the core of any work that includes a global dimension because human geography is all about people and places and how we live in the world today. However experience has shown us that this is not always the case.

The global dimension remains underdeveloped in the majority of schools surveyed. Frequently, insufficient connections are made between the wider curriculum and the geography curriculum to reinforce pupils’ understanding of issues such as global citizenship, diversity, human rights and sustainable development. - OFSTED 2008

Course units

Start local and think global
Start local and think global

How can we expect pupils to think about global connections if they are unable to value their own small part of the earth?
Start global and think local
Start global and think local

What informs our global perspective and how can books prompt memories to help us think about what we value?
The big ideas behind geography and the global dimension
The 'big ideas' behind geography and the global dimension

What is geography all about? And what is the relationship between geography and the global dimension?
Living Geography
Living geography

Exploring the term 'living geography' and how it can make the subject more relevant to your pupils.
Planning and resourcing
Planning and resourcing

Planning for global learning and how to teach about the unfamiliar using the rainforest as an example.
Case study one
Case study one: Project Amazonas

How one teacher used the book The Great Snake to inspire learning about the Amazon Rainforest.
Case study two
Case study two: One Hen

Exploring sustainable development with the book One Hen and helping pupils view themselves as global citizens.
case study three
Case study three: Africa: your school, my school

A series of sessions based around the 'single story' perceptions that children often have of a particular place, in this instance Africa.
case study four
Case study four: Chembakolli

At the core of this unit are issues regarding global citizenship and change, using the story of the Adivasi people of Chembakolli to inspire change in school.
case study five
Case study five: Mountains

A unit adapted from existing mountain planning to bring in more direct teaching of Geographical skills and to enhance the children’s awareness of the global dimension.
case study six
Case study six: Water, water everywhere (KS1-2)

Teacher written lesson plans, links, ideas and resources for teaching global disparities in access to fresh water, the effects of flooding on different parts of the world, sustainability, social justice and resource management.
case study seven
Case study seven: World on your feet (KS2)

This module explores: people, places and the spaces they live and work in, the way that people and places are connected and environmental change and sustainability.
case study eight
Case study eight: Zambia

A unit based around the similarities and differences between life in Sheffield and life in Choma, Zambia.


In 2010-11 the Geographical Association and the Development Education Centre for South Yorkshire (DECSY) worked together on the Geography and the Global Dimension Project with funding from DfID and in collaboration with six teachers from Sheffield and Rotherham.

During the development phase we engaged in critical and reflective discussion on themes such as climate change, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), water, food and trade justice. We are currently working with six new teachers to refine our ideas and produce more case studies.

These course units were created by the project leader, Wendy North, to share the discussions and outcomes of the first phase of the project with a wider audience.

Start local and think global >>>

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Kate Saunders Guest

Hi Just followed the link from Teaching Ideas Facebook page and ended up here. Can you please tell me more about the free online course on the global dimension? I am a primary school teacher and live in Rotherham so I have had contact with DECSY, and actually used One Hen for a topic a couple of years ago. I look forward to hearing from you many THANKS.

John Lyon

John Lyon GA Staff

Hi Kate
This free course was written as part of a GA/DECSY led project and involved a number of schools working together to undertake what we called 'curriculum making'.
The course is designed to be extremely flexible. It is full of ideas that you can use directly in your classroom and you can choose to select parts or cover all the sections.
If you do choose to use any of the resources or ideas we would really appreciate you sharing what you think (and maybe even adding your resources and thoughts to keep this page fresh and new). I hope that helps


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