What impact does geography, as a subject and academic discipline, have on young people? It’s a fascinating question posed by the President of the Geographical Association Mark Higginbottom and an interesting theme for this year’s Annual Conference in Manchester.
He went on to say, “Asked if geography helps young people shape an understanding and appreciation of the world around them, whoever they are, wherever they live and whatever their academic interests, I believe we would all immediately respond with a resounding ‘yes!’; but do we really know the impact geography has on shaping them as ‘well rounded’ human beings?”
It got us thinking about the impact of Learning Outside the Classroom initiatives and the impact that they have on our young geographers today. Of course, we wouldn’t have been doing what we are doing for 50 years now without constantly seeing and truly believing the impact that our geography trips have on students and teachers, but we understand that we’ve been around a lot longer than many of you have been teachers and perhaps it was time we showed you too!
We submitted a proposal to host a session at this year’s GA conference and we were extremely excited to hear that the organising committee accepted our proposal.
Our proposal: Armed with a small camera crew, we will follow the journey of a school as they embark on a geography trip to Iceland, speaking to teachers and students before, after and whilst on tour about their expectations, thoughts and eventually their outcomes. In addition, we will be speaking to students past and present about the impact that geographical learning has had on their lives, academically and otherwise, and what role being given the opportunity to see geography outside of the classroom had on this.
It all begins in the classroom, so just last week I headed up the motorway to Bury Church of England High School to meet Mr Hanson and some of his geography students to find out about the geography provision at the school and their feelings about the upcoming trip to the geographer’s paradise that is Iceland.
Jenny and Tom, both in year 10, spoke confidently about weather fronts, glaciation and volcanic landscapes as they told me why they’re looking forward to their trip to Iceland. Mr Hanson, who is definitely sold on the benefits of LOtC, told me why he believes an international fieldtrip is crucial and why the school’s headmaster, Reverend Watson, continues to show his support for taking geography outside the classroom.
Next stop, Iceland, where we’ll capture the impact of this geography trip on the students of Bury Church of England High School. The evidence will be unveiled at 9am on Saturday 11th April as we present ‘LOtC; Shaping the future of young geographers’ at this year’s Geographical Association conference. Whether you’re yet to organise your first geography trip for your students or are a seasoned traveller like Mr Hanson, you won’t want to miss it!