Importance of Geography

Barton-on-Sea cliffs

The information on this page continues to gain interest so I add occasional updates which might be valuable to those people.

Specialist geography teaching

Read a message from Alan Kinder, chief executive of the Geographical Association, to the Department for Education in England  about specialist geography teaching. It is a response to the department’s subject specialist report. (Both in PDF. January 2017)
Alan concludes:
Whilst this is complex and contested territory, I cannot help but feel concerned that the Department for Education should have anything less than a clear view of the types of knowledge teachers need in order to teach well. The risk of focusing exclusively on specialist degrees in your research was always that an inconclusive outcome would lead to the false conclusion that teachers do not need ‘specialist knowledge’. They do – but the nature of this is not as straightforward as the report’s authors appear to believe.

How geography must adapt or die

by William Stewart (TES, 25 April 2014)

Geography will disappear as a subject in schools unless it unites its human and physical aspects to meet the neds of the 21st century.

Academic and broadcaster Iain Stewart said the travelogue “froth” of most geographical televison programmes and the way teachers were expectd to teach geography were symptomatic of the subject’s problems.”

Geography must adapt or die

Geography is…

when you look at a map and see that the people on one side of some line are rich and healthy and long-lived and the people on the other side are poor and sick and die young, you start to wonder why…”

“Geography is destiny. And for much of the country, not a happy destiny.

Read John Lanchester, ‘Brexit Blues’ in London Review of Books, 28 July 2016

A very well framed argument from David Lambert…

Teachers should seize this chance to get stuck into the knowledge question rather than collectively avoid it, which has in some ways been the story of recent times.

The professional language invented over the past 10 years is the language of pedagogy. This is no bad thing in itself, of course, but pedagogy has become so dominant that it is now confused with its apparently weaker cousin: curriculum. But it is the curriculum that teachers need to engage with.”


A person growing up in the 21st century as a global citizen (and all that implies) is at a disadvantage without geographical knowledge – economically, culturally and politically. How can we make any of the personal decisions that already confront us every day about energy, food and water security without geographical knowledge?

Understanding geographical perspectives contributes to our capabilities as educated individuals and members of society.

Crack curriculum’s core and open a world of opportunity

The TES, 27 August 2010, Professor David Lambert Sorry, link now requires registration.

And read this…

The importance of subject-based teaching

Whilst a topic-centred approach to teaching has its advantages, we must not forget the central importance of subject-based concepts, says David Leat

As a geographer by birth I will always insist that one of the most important outcomes from the subject is that students really understand causation – or how and why things happen. In many lessons I would come back to that theme and unpack a variety of models, of varying power, for understanding and explaining how and why things happen.

In many ways I support efforts to make teaching more relevant, to connect with everyday experience and to acknowledge and use students’ knowledge as a starting point. In principle I have no problem with studying themes that bridge subjects or start with student interests. This might be called topic work. But we should remember that much topic work in primary and secondary schools, before the advent of the National Curriculum was poor intellectual fare, justified on the grounds of tenuous links. If ‘topics’ are to make a comeback in a skills-based curriculum then subject concepts must be part of the superstructure. It would be fantastic to see related concepts from different subjects interacting, such as audience in English and market in DT.

Without this underpinning how can teachers help students generalise and extract ideas that will inform their future independent learning? As has been emphasised in a number of studies on mathematics and other subjects one of the consequences of good subject knowledge is that teachers can connect and integrate different areas of the subject. Understanding is after all an expression of how well knowledge is connected together, but not just in a topic web.

David Leat in Teaching Expertise
Source: Sorry, link now broken.

This might seem a little dated already, but there is an enduring sense in this statement:

If geography itself has any significance it is that we are made to lift our eyes from our small provincial selves to the whole complex and magnificent world.
Reportedly Richard Burton (1821-1890) to the Royal Geographical Society

Further views on the curriculum…

on my blog here >

2 replies on “Importance of Geography”

you encourage the teacher and general people to learn & teach about Real life with nature…. thanks..

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