Young Geographers Go Green

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Young Geographers Go Green focuses on the role geography plays in enabling the Sustainable Schools agenda to be carried out.

The teaching and learning activities in this course have been chosen to demonstrate active pupil participation through real issues such as sustainable energy and climate change, and use of the outdoor classroom.

It draws on materials provided by the Ashden Awards, examples of school practice and thinking from the book Caring for our world: a practical guide to ESD for ages 4-8.

Working through the course

You may choose to work through the units in a linear fashion, or may prefer to select only those that are most relevant to you at any particular time.

Course Units

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L Conlan

L Conlan GA Member

When I read the intro. to this course I thought it was about pupils actually carrying out projects and activities to 'go green'. However there is unfortunately few links to the main title. The 'everyday sustainability' is more linked to the following 'sustainably energy and the local community'. Although the 'Learning to Take Risks' is a usful lesson there is little relevance to the title of 'going green'. It would be nice if this course was linked to the 'eco-schools awards' which it does start to then the links seem to fade. I have complete the different activities (apart from those in lessons as not a permanent school yet) which I will focus the different ideas to creating different ideas for the 7 elements of the Scottish Eco-schools green flag award which I hope will be useful for future interviews.
It would also be good for the GA to link to the Scottish Education System too with regard to resources and training more northwards which I did not realise until I moved here that it didn't. Is there any reason for this? I am under the impression that the GA is for the UK so perhaps it's because there are no GA branches in Scotland? Thanks.

Paula Owens

Paula Owens GA Staff

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It’s really helpful to us when we get feedback from members.
We’re sorry that this free course was not what you were expecting. The reference in the title to ‘go green’ does indeed refer to sustainability. This is such a vast, holistic area within the school curriculum in general and specifically within geography, there was only room in this course to focus on some aspects of ‘going green’. Otherwise we felt that we would not be able to include some of the deeper conceptual thinking that would help teachers develop their ideas further.
The course does begin by considering teaching approaches which we feel are very important when tackling any sustainability / ‘going green’ activities. For example, why and how teachers can support their teaching by ‘developing a sense of hope’; engage children by ensuring participation and inclusion and ensure that the process underpinning activities is one that is active and involves enquiry. Otherwise of course any sustainable / green activities would be tokenistic rather than genuine.
The aspects of sustainability chosen for the illustrative activities were ‘energy’, ‘fieldwork (school grounds and locality)’, and ‘health and well being’. These were chosen for the following reasons. Energy is often perceived as a difficult topic to engage with yet is arguably one of the most pressing problems we face today. Fieldwork is crucial not just as part of geography but because if we are to take real action we need to be outside in the real world. The course does explain the rationale behind this in more detail using appropriate research findings and reading.
It’s good to know that you found ‘Learning to take Risks’ a useful lesson. This was intended to demonstrate sustainability in action as children can learn how to keep themselves safe and take responsibility (health and well being). We appreciate that ‘energy’, ‘school grounds’ and ‘health and well being’ are only three out of the ten Eco-schools ‘areas’ but if you look closely at the activities provided you will see that they also cover aspects of the other areas as well. For example, the activity about designing owl boxes covers ‘school grounds’ and ‘biodiversity’; energy reduction also covers ‘waste’ and links to ‘transport’ etc. All of these areas are very much interconnected and we hoped that the thinking behind this course would help teachers to develop work in other areas through ‘curriculum making’, something we are passionate about.
As for linking more specifically with the Scottish Curriculum, we agree that this is something we could develop. Developing some ideas for this is something that we shall take forward and if you have any more specific suggestions along these lines we’d love to hear them. There is a Scottish Association of Geography Teachers (SAGT) too.This is separate to the GA but we have a good working relationship with them.

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