Geography exists! It is robust and well-defined in its own right and is the middle overlap in the Venn diagram of environment, people and places. It is about the world we live in and it makes sense of our varied and wonderful planet which, as far as we know, is the only planet with cake!
Geography is not just there for random quiz questions on Eggheads (other quiz programmes are available) but it opens the eyes of our pupils to the processes at work in the environment and makes sense of what is happening – even if it is somewhat scary at times with climate change, forest depletion and desertification. There is a balance between the physical and the human elements of this discipline and both are of equal importance.
Our pupils study diverse topics, from city planning to plate tectonics, from denudation to ecotourism and many more. When possible we get out of the classroom to see the reality of the subject and this may range from trips to see rivers, coastlines, local settlements, farms, factories, our school grounds and many more. This is exactly what the Year 8 pupils have done last week with their fieldwork data collection days at Glyne Gap, Bexhill. The data will be used to produce a fieldwork enquiry which, for some, will count for 20% of their final end of year mark. We have started on the write-up and the discipline of producing a logical, well-structured and coherent document will be of value to studies at GCSE and beyond. However, it is not all about the data, and enjoying a refreshing ice lolly sitting on a rock groyne made from Norwegian granite is just as important in the appreciation of our environment.
As a department we enjoy a bit of friendly banter from other staff, as they say all we do is ‘colour things in’! The correct application of differential pigment is certainly a good skill but the core geography skills are embedded into the subject material; by the end of Year 8 the pupils will have been exposed to skills that will help them have a better understanding of what geography is all about.
A recent question in a Tonbridge school scholarship paper asked, “Why would an employer look to employ a Geography graduate rather than a graduate from another discipline”? My answer is “Why not”? On the whole we are a pretty balanced and level-headed bunch who want the world to be a better place.