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Cautious revolution Curriculum change at Key Stage Three Steven Chubb University of Cumbria Southpor


Southport, January 2009. Planning the curriculum ... Geography for a Better World' The Postmodern Challenge and Geography Education' ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Cautious revolution Curriculum change at Key Stage Three Steven Chubb University of Cumbria Southpor

Cautious (r)evolution?Curriculum change at Key
Stage ThreeSteven ChubbUniversity of
CumbriaSouthport, January 2009
Planning the curriculum
  • The process of designing and developing a
    curriculum is demanding. It is a creative
    process and relies on
  • inspiration as well as good subject and
    pedagogical knowledge (Kinder, 2008 102).
  • Planning the curriculum is a strange mixture of
    rational organization and serendipity (Rawling,
    2007 32).

Teachers as gatekeepers
  • Teaching always involves value judgements about
    what to teach and what not to teach about what
    is worth knowing and what is not about how to
    think and how not to think about which skills
    are relevant and which are not. Teachers are,
    in effect, gatekeepers who sanction and censure
    what you can know in the classroom
  • (Castree, 2005, 299).

Types of curriculum planner
  • Cautious Balanced Progressive Adventurous
  • (Rawling, 2007 32)

  • Cautious stay with known structure and well
    established units. Provide a secure base of
    knowledge and skills. Only make essential changes
    as required by PoS.
  • Balanced assume some of existing course will
    stay. Consider new PoS and new ideas and add them
    alongside well-established units. Ensure new
    course is a balance of new and old.
  • Progressive a complete review of course
    structure and content. Draw on lots of new ideas
    and materials. Keep some existing topics and
    approaches, tailoring them to new structures.
  • Adventurous undertake a radical overhaul,
    starting with a clean slate. Take inspiration
    from academic geography and/or students
    experiences. Adopt new and innovative topics and
    materials, some of which may be untried.
  • (Rawling, 2007)

Background to research
  • Research consisted of semi-structured interviews
    with 9 teachers in charge of Geography in
    Lancashire Secondary schools.
  • They were asked how and why they were adapting
    their KS3 Geography curriculum.
  • Chosen by responses to initial postal survey
    use sport in geography at KS3.
  • Varied gender/length of service of teacher in

Schools visited
  • 1 girls school
  • 1 academy
  • 2 church schools (CoE)
  • 1 humanities specialist school
  • three 11-18 schools
  • six 11-16 schools

Topics being dropped
  • Industry
  • Farming
  • Tourism
  • Development
  • Italy
  • Sport
  • Brazil (x2)
  • Japan (x2)
  • Weather climate

Topics being added
  • Sport
  • Geography in the news
  • USA
  • Global issues
  • Generally a more local focus local F/W
  • Sport has obvious links to many of the key
    concepts in the new curriculum

Results - comments
  • School G
  • new Health topic was inspired by newspaper
    articles and developed by the department itself
  • Music and geography a possibility under
  • School F
  • dropping Industry and Farming not relevant
    enough to pupils and staff/pupils find it

Results - comments
  • School B
  • Year 9 country studies of Italy, Brazil and Japan
    being dropped both staff and pupils not keen
    and Japan/Italy a hangover from the last
  • Will spend more time on UK studies to develop
    spatial skills.
  • School C
  • Sport possibly being dropped because of less
    curriculum time for relevant fieldwork (Bolton,
    Reebok stadium).
  • Geography of crime introduced in 2007 to develop
    citizenship links

Results - comments
  • School A
  • Currently no F/W at KS3 and curriculum change a
    chance to introduce this with increased
  • Keeping Brazil resources available for this a
    key aspect. Keeping Japan pupils like it.
  • Used Geographical Worlds planning wheel concept
  • Yr 7 now a Humanities course
  • School H
  • pleased with new flexibility allows for
    creativity by teachers and back to pre-national
    curriculum times.
  • Old curriculum had become a bit tired and stale
    chance to change
  • New country case study - USA
  • Yr 7 now a Humanities course

Results - comments
  • School I
  • Not anticipating making major changes to KS3
    syllabus department has always changed
    curriculum in the past as necessary.
  • Retaining country studies Brazil popular with
    football/favela/crime links, Italy prepares for
    GCSE and links to development.
  • School E
  • Yr. 7 Learning to Learn course covers local
    studies, regeneration and country case studies
    (class choose which country to study).
  • Not making big changes to curriculum as have
    changed recently and current curriculum works
  • School D
  • the number of changes this year and next are ill
    thought out too many for schools to cope
  • No need to make major changes to content
    worried about throwing the baby out with the

Curriculum inertia?
  • Roberts used the term curriculum inertia to
    describe the situation where teachers continue
    with their existing choices even when not
    constrained by prescription (2005 62)
  • Roberts encouraged use of pupil voice in
    exploring childrens geographies and designing
    new curricula

School C surveyed year 10 pupils about the
possible curriculum changes
  • Pupils wanted to study
  • Global warming, poverty, war/political issues,
  • Places USA, Iran, Iraq, UK, China, Afghanistan,
    Africa, Europe
  • Pupils wanted to keep
  • Fashion, volcanoes/earthquakes, weather and
  • Pupils wanted to drop
  • Brazil, Japan

Planning the new curriculum
  • The new PoS requires all geography teachers to
    think carefully about their rationale for
    selecting content. Local opportunities and
    practical considerations (e.g. resources
    available) will doubtless play a role. Relevance
    to the lives of learners is vital, as is the need
    for learning to build on learners previous
    geographical experience.
  • (Rawling, 2008, cited in Kinder, 2008 99)
  • A key tool in the selection of content is the
    idea of geographical significance.
  • (Kinder, 2008 99)

Concluding thoughts
  • Varied responses to possible curriculum change
    generally more cautious/balanced than
  • Busy with other changes so many have made limited
    changes to KS3?
  • Responses suggest that age and length of service
    not so important as teacher type?
  • A possible typology
  • The Geographer
  • The Manager
  • The Cross-Curricularist
  • The Traditionalist

Concluding thoughts
  • Curriculum change currently perhaps more
    connected to structure rather than content
    change to Humanities courses, starting GCSE early
    in year 9, less time for geography
  • Chance to introduce a more critical geography may
    be being missed
  • Impact of GA training/Teachers Toolkit not

Have we been here before.?
  • Prior to 1988Geography departments were free to
    decide on content, method of delivery and the
    nature of assessment that fitted their localities
    and needs (Jones, 2002 3)
  • Innovative curriculum development had often led
    to Humanities courses, shared with History and
  • This allowed for greater flexibility but often
    led to Geography being taught by non-specialists
  • The critical issue for geography teams remains
    that of time. In 2000 schools were planning for
    the new specifications to be introduced post-16.
    Much of 2001 was spent planning for new A level
    and GCSE specifications, diverting energy and
    planning away from KS3 (ibid.)

  • Holloway, S. et al. (eds) (2003) Key Concepts
    in Geography London Sage
  • Jackson, P (2006) Thinking Geographically.
    Geography, Autumn 2006, p.199
  • Jones, M (2002) Working with the National
    Curriculum ch. 1 in Smith, M (ed.) Aspects of
    teaching secondary geography, London/New York
    Routledge/Falmer, O.U.
  • Kinder, A (2008) A teachers toolkit for KS3
    Teaching Geography Autumn 2008
  • Lambert, D (2004) Geography ch. 6 in White, J
    (ed.) (2004) Rethinking the School Curriculum
    London/New YorkRoutledge/Falmer
  • Morgan J (2002) Teaching Geography for a Better
    World The Postmodern Challenge and Geography
    Education International Research in
    Geographical and Environmental Education vol.
    11, no.1, pp. 15-29
  • Pointon and Wood (2007) The new AS/A level
    specifications Teaching Geography Autumn 2007
    p. 124/125
  • Rawling, E (2000) National Curriculum Geography
    new opportunities for curriculum development? in
    Kent, A (ed) Reflective Practice in Geography
    Teaching, ch. 9, p.99-112 London Paul Chapman
  • Rawling, E (2007) Planning your Key Stage 3
    Geography Curriculum Sheffield GA
  • Rawling, E (2008) Planning your KS3 curriculum
    Teaching Geography Autumn 2008
  • Roberts, M (2005) Constructing the world
    through the curriculum in Changing Horizons in
    Geography Education, Donert, K Charzynski, P
    (eds) HERODOT
  • White, J (ed.) (2004) Rethinking the School
    Curriculum London/New YorkRoutledge/Falmer