Young People's Geographies
The Young People's Geographies project was a five year (2006-11) curriculum development and research programme investigating how school students and teachers working together can effectively develop the school geography curriculum and students' geographical learning.
The project was funded by the DfES/DCSF Action Plan for Geography and also received funding from The Academy for Sustainable Communities during the first two years.
The project legacy is the YPG website, which includes a number of teaching ideas and resources.
Young People's Geographies is about making school geography more exciting and relevant to students by involving them in curriculum making and by focusing on their own lived geographies. Young people have their own distinct geographies, often very different to those of adults, and the YPG team believes the learning process will be much richer for students if these geographies are taken into account.
At the heart of the project is the idea of conversation. These changes can't happen unless teachers and students talk to each other. A big part of the first phase of the project was about establishing those conversations, and the dedicated Young People's Geographies website is a key ingredient for keeping those conversations going throughout the next phase.
A key element of the Young People's Geographies project is how it crosses boundaries between academic and school geography. By working together, academics, teacher trainers, school teachers and students are exploring ways in which academic ideas can effectively develop the school geography curriculum and students' geographical learning.
The YPG website
Launched in October 2008, the official YPG website looks at practical ways in which young people and their geographies can support the ongoing process of curriculum making in school. It includes information about the background to the project, where it plans to go next, and how to get involved during the coming months.
As conversation is central to the YPG ethos, it features a section all about how students and teachers can talk and work together. It also contains lots of activity ideas including film making, map making, photo collages and a 'Big Brother' style diary room to find out what students really think about geography.
The site also features a 'My YPG' area containing blogs and forums where teachers and students can talk about their experiences of school geography and/or the Young People’s Geographies project. You need to create an account before you can participate in this area, but registration is free and only takes a few seconds.