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Getting Started

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Introducing the courses

Suggested course duration: 6 - 10 hours

This family of courses explores the relationships between identity and place by drawing on some key geographical processes and understanding, although links will be made within and across Areas of Learning as outlined in the proposed new Primary Curriculum.

In doing so, it will guide those who complete each course through the production of an integrated unit of work, or a selection of resources that will contribute to a whole school agenda of sustainability and social cohesion and which could be developed further and taught with KS1 or KS2 pupils.

Some resources may be particularly useful as transition units, supporting pupils as they move to new settings and mix with new people.

Possible foci for your learning journey

Starting your learning journey

Suggested completion time: 1 hour

It may be that you already have a focus in mind relating to work undertaken through 'identity and place'. However, some possible foci for the learning journey are suggested below. These will be explicitly supported by the content of the courses, but you may alternatively wish to select an entirely different one.

Possible foci for the learning journey:

  • Gaining a greater understanding of sustainability and community cohesion in practice and how they are linked
  • Opportunities to make positive contributions to the S3 (Sustainable Schools Evaluation Form) and the school SEF
  • Opportunities to evidence aspects of ECM and SEAL agendas
  • Development of new curriculum resources using an interdisciplinary approach led by geography
  • Increased knowledge of geography and its application as a subject within an integrated curriculum
  • Opportunities to develop confidence in leading fieldwork
  • Production of new resources to support transition between KS2 and KS3
  • Development of a portfolio for PGQM accreditation

Introducing Sustainability and Community Cohesion

Achieve and Suceed

Suggested completion time: 1 - 2 hours

Let us begin by thinking about some definitions.

Sustainability is about caring for our world for future generations and involves thinking carefully about the environmental, economic and social implications of change. View an introduction to the government's sustainable schools programme. 

Social Cohesion is also about care: caring about ourselves, our cultural roots and our visions for the future, whilst empathising with and respecting diverse views and identities. Opportunities for shared vision, equal opportunities and belonging are strong central themes and at the heart of this is an awareness and understanding of how places both shape and are shaped by personal and shared identities.

By community cohesion, we mean working towards a society in which there is a common vision and sense of belonging held by its various communities; a society in which the diversity of people's backgrounds and circumstances is appreciated and valued; a society in which similar life opportunities are available to all; and a society in which strong and positive relationships exist and continue to be developed in the workplace, in schools and in the wider community. View the DCSF Guide to Community Cohesion.

You may like to read Community cohesion in action, a curriculum planning guide for schools from the QCDA.

Reviewing where you are and what you already do

Suggested completion time: 1 - 2 hours

Read the Guidance for Community Cohesion.

Has your school carried out an audit on their curricular provision? If not, download this Teaching and Learning Audit which will help you think how you might structure your learning journey.

The Pupil Voice

Smiling pupils

Suggested completion time: 1 -2 hours

Read the following quote from the Adjegbo report:

"Our report argued that young people should be at the centre of this debate about 'who we are', ‘why we live where we do' and 'how we relate to each other'. We believe that, in a time of rapid change and some turbulence young people should debate, discuss and celebrate what people living in the UK share and have in common but also celebrate and respect differences and what we can learn from each other." Sir Keith Adjegbo (2006) Diversity and Citizenship.

Ask pupils what they think about a new topic of teaching in which they will focus on questions such as who we are? why do we live where we do? and how do we relate to each other? Explain that in the important Adjegbo Report, it was argued that young people should be involved at the heart of answering such important questions.

  • What do pupils think about this as a topic for study? Can they give reasons for their answers?
  • Put pupils into groups of four or five to discuss this and record up to five reasons why they think this would / would not be a good idea (provide five large cards and felt pens to record responses).
  • Give each group allotted feedback time. Warn them that although they can report back verbally on all of their reasons, they can only choose two to be displayed – use pegs and a stretched line across the class to do this.
  • Discuss the range of responses from the class – what was the balance between positive and negative reasons? Were there similar reasons given? Were there responses that could be grouped together? Are there some reasons that stand out as being more important than others? Can they be ordered? Are some reasons strongly disagreed with? Give pupils the chance to respond after all groups have spoken.
  • Support the class to summarise the responses (you can physically rearrange and group the written responses) and take suggestions about possible outcomes and audience.
Groupings: you may have your own ideas about organising groupings, but one way to ensure that each group has a 'writer' and make all pupils feel that they have a valued role to play is to use this activity.

Explain that you need mixed groups with different skills so that the discussion is successful. Have different coloured stickers / small pieces of card etc., six each of five different colours (for six groups of five). Ask those who think they are good writers to put their hands up, and deal out six cards of the same colour. Then repeat the process using different attributes, e.g. good thinkers, good listeners, fair minded, good talkers etc. Everyone should have a chance to put their hand up for something. Then ask them to organise themselves into groups, with the proviso that no two colours can be on the same table. This can be a stimulating and fun activity to start a discussion, requiring negotiation and consideration on the part of pupils as they find their places.
Pupils at work in the classroom

This approach can be used to compile a list of questions that pupils might want to ask about identity and place. Choosing and sorting relevant questions can be a deeply reflective process. See P4C approaches to pedagogy. 

You might at this stage choose to involve your pupils in an initial mindmap to demonstrate what they know and think they know about identity, place and belonging. Whatever activities you choose to do at this initial stage, they should be geared towards:

  • Finding out pupils' starting knowledge, views and values
  • Enabling pupils to have a direct input into their learning.

Links to Living Geography

Children taking part in the Young Geographers project

Suggested completion time: 1 - 1.5 hours

'Living Geography' is geography which is alive and relevant. It supports and encourages curiosity about the wider world through an enquiry approach and develops pupils' ability to give creative and critical responses to everyday issues. In this way, it is bound up with education for sustainable development (ESD) and has a strong fieldwork component to underpin active engagement. It:

  • is current and future oriented
  • is local but set in wider (global) contexts
  • investigates change processes
  • evaluates change and questions sustainability

See some examples of Living Geography at the primary phase in our Young Geographers project area.

Having involved your pupils at the outset and gained an idea of their opinions and / or initial questions, and having familiarised yourself with some of the contexts for investigating identity and place through a geography led unit of work, reflect on what your focus might be and some outcomes you would wish to achieve.

Your learning journey

Having finished this Getting Started section you should now be in a position to decide on a learning and change focus.

At this point it would also be useful to identify another colleague(s) who you would like to work with. It is important that you discuss ideas with someone else as you work through the courses. This is an area of learning that has whole school implications as well as direct implications for others teaching in your year group. It will provide meaningful links to core subjects and possible links to other subject areas and / or Areas of Learning – in particular, Historical, geographical and social understanding  as outlined in the Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum.

Now it is time to sharpen your learning and change focus by engaging more deeply with the knowledge base and developing a plan for your learning journey. You can choose to focus on just one or two of the courses below or you may wish to work through them all in order to develop an integrated unit of work.

The Courses

Getting Started
Getting Started
Special People, Special Places
Special People,
Special Places
Taking Risks
Taking Risks
Mywalks and messy maps
Mywalks and
messy maps
There's a place for us
There's a place for us
Plenary
Plenary
Introduction and Course Selection
Introduction and
Course Selection

Main Image: Primrose Hill, 28 by Flickr user トリプ · tripu, made available under Creative Commons.

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