Starting to think about teaching Geography can be daunting for those of us more comfortable in the realm of History. The content, skills, understanding, can all seem a little beyond what we signed up for, and with the fear of the unknown inevitably seeping in, we have a tendency to revert back to the safe, colouring in maps approach that has plagued Geography for years.
Geography deserves better. When we look across the curriculum, Geography presents the most potential for a relevant, authentic and experiential approach in our classrooms. In a time when issues concerning the environment, interconnections between places and people, and sustainability are topical and constantly, somewhat viciously, debated, geography provides students with access to such ideas and concerns.
But, baby steps.
I know that I certainly need to first take a step back from such issues and simply get my head around the basics. What is Geography? Not only in terms of content, but in terms of inquiry and skills. When we look into the inquiry process for Geography, the parallels and overlap with the inquiry process for History are inevitability similar, if not the same in certain contexts. As History teachers, we are perhaps more qualified and informed than we think.
Here are some readings and links I found useful to start thinking about Geography:
- http://www.geography.org.uk/gtip/thinkpieces/concepts/ – Information on some key Geographical concepts
- http://www.iag.org.au/about-geography/what-is-geography/ -Basic introduction to the study of Geography
- http://seniorsecondary.tki.org.nz/Social-sciences/Geography/Key-concepts – From New Zealand, but still relevant to our study of Geographical concepts.
- http://www.agta.asn.au/index.php– Designed by the Australian Geography Teachers Association to help teachers work with the Australian Curriculum. Contains some great curriculum resources.
- http://www.agta.asn.au/Resources/CurriculumResources/true_blue.php– Interesting op-ed on the aforementioned website on how Geography should be taught in schools.
- http://www.geogspace.edu.au/– Set up to help teachers with the new Australian Curriculum: Geography. Useful explanations and curriculum resources.