Learning about the climate: the curriculum

Posted in: Comment, Talks and Presentations

As I've already noted, earlier in the year I gave a talk to a group of PGCE geography students.  I did this from home, of course, using a rather slick platform that I never quite learned the name of.

Towards the end of the talk, I set out what I thought about a number of issues to do with climate, environment and the curriculum.  I did this so that the students could see my thinking and assumptions about the issues.  I stressed that they did not have to accept what I thought, but that there was an imperative on them to have their own views on these topics.  I confined myself to 5 topics which were: The Earth; Young people; Schools; Curriculum organisation; Curriculum progression.  This is what I said about the curriculum:

Curriculum organisation

  – The national curriculum only goes so far and in a piecemeal manner
  – The elements of the EYFS (exploring / active learning / creating & thinking critically) embody environmental education
  – Good primary science & geography is good environmental education
  – Collaboration between geography and science teachers is vital, but don’t forget the arts
  – Space and time are needed for a rounded and deep treatment of issues
  – Exploratory pedagogies will help
  – General and/or citizenship studies may have to be reinvented
  – There are lots of external organisations who might work with you

Curriculum progression

  – Always start with awe and wonder about the world
  – Work outwards from home & school to locality, country and world
  – Connect with nature; 1st hand experience is always important, as is practical activity
  – Shift from awareness to knowledge to understanding to argument
  – Move from what is (and how we know) to what might happen, to what we might do
  – Always treat issues as controversial if they are
  – Deal with complex issues in a nuanced, age-appropriate way
  – Be honest and open and admit to uncertainty where it exists
  – Be up-front about values and value conflicts
There's so much more to say, of course, but these were enough for a couple of powerpoint slides.

Posted in: Comment, Talks and Presentations


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  • Thanks for these reminders, Bill. I find myself spending so much time in Hume' "ought" via argument these days that I really long for the prior steps. Would you mind sharing your slides with the CCEC community (ccecollective [dot] org)?

    • Bill - we'd love to get your thoughts on our ideas of Radical School Geography and the education we need now. Paul