Tag Archives: David Rogers

GA conference review – the new national curriculum & the end of Geography? #gaconf14

David Rogers’ lecture on the future of Geography under the new national curriculum 


David is an Assistant Headteacher and Geographer who previously led the @priorygeography department and saw it flourish into a Centre of Excellence after taking over a failing department. His lecture was focused on the new national curriculum, and was thought-provoking and challenging for those that attended. It was also refreshingly positive on this topic.

Originally the lecture had been titled ‘It’s not the end of Geography as we know it’ but after being impacted by Professor Iain Stewart’s excellent opening lecture was re-titled to ‘It is the end of Geography as we know it, hopefully….’. David, speaking from the viewpoint of an experienced geographer who has seen his fair share of government change & still developed an excellent curriculum and department regardless, asked whether teachers protest at government changes largely out of fear. That we find curriculum change scary, because we become comfortable. Whether the new skeletal curriculum is worrying because teachers have been drip-fed for too long, have become too used to being constrained and prescribed, so that the loss of restraint and sudden emergence into freedom is actually somewhat daunting.

David reminded us that no curriculum document or policy is ever going to be exciting or creative; that it is our jobs as teachers and middle leaders to take these documents and adapt, even subvert them, to meet the needs of our learners. Quoting from How Children Succeed he commented on the value of teaching and learning character, it being equally as important as raising intellect.

There have been various commentaries and discussions on forums pertaining to the new curriculum, and at times these have actually been sadly negative. David pointed out what should be obvious: can we really argue with a new curriculum programme of study that states that a high quality Geography education should ‘inspire curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for life’? That demands greater rigour so that children make excellent progress? What’s not to like about that?! There is a danger of not looking past the document outline, and seeing the benefitof the freedom given.

Many teachers, and school leaders, are feeling the impact of the loss of levels and level descriptors and are trying to find new ways to assess, record and report progress. I liked the reference to Hattie that it is our job as teachers to ensure that ‘no child in our care meets their potential – but that they ultimately smash their potential’. That is the challenge. It reminded me of one of my favourite concepts: the power of ‘yet’. That when a learner says ‘I don’t understand’ or ‘I can’t do it’, your response is ‘yet’. They will get there. One suggestion for formative assessment he shared was the use of Skills Webs – you can see more on this on this blog.

As well as being a thought provoker and stirring up the audience, David also shared a few tips. You can see his lecture resource via his blog which has the slides and his commentary. He shared how Geography can lead the school in the delivery of English and Maths, as well as Science / STEM. That we as Geography teachers and leaders should tackle thewhole school issues of improving literacy, embedding quality and high level numeracy, delivering citizenship, developingstudent voice, sharing global dimensions, etc., and not just get caught up in the attitude of ‘I must teach soils’ – look past the document into the broader picture, see how Geography can benefit your students in a holistic way. It’s not about pub quiz Geography and factual recall, it’s about the whole.

Finally he ended with one of my favourite quotes: ‘It always seems impossible until it is done’ (Nelson Mandela). Don’t forget – policy doesn’t have to be a barrier, Gove and Ofsted aren’t in your classroom, so get creative.

#TMPompey -getting better every time:-)

Meet and Greet on board HMS Victory
Meet and Greet on board HMS Victory

So last night saw the relaunch of TeachMeet Pompey for the new academic year, set up by David Rogers and myself. And what a way to kick off the new term! Phewf! For David’s write up check his blog.

The evening began with an incredibly civilised and fancy meet and greet on board HMS Victory, courtesy of our ever helpful host and organiser Phil Wright over at the Historic Dockyard. Ok, so there was a torrential downpour but it didn’t dampen spirits. We were welcomed on board by the Royal Navy serving refreshments (pleased to say the homemade cupcakes went down well in the end!) and then relocated to the National Museum of the Royal Navy for the meet itself.

The hosts enjoying the event
The hosts enjoying the event

We had a packed evening with cracking presentations. What makes TeachMeet so great, in my opinion, is that it is simply teachers sharing stories in a relaxed way. No pretence, no bragging, no ‘we should all do it this way’. Just simple honesty and some great ideas of what could work if you just have a go. All of the presentations are available on my slideshare . Here is the list of what we enjoyed:

Charlotte Assomo – using video feedback

Julia Skinner – 100 word challenge and improving literacy

Rachel Jones – public outcomes enquiry

Nik Doran – beautiful graphing (making maths artistic!)

Shorny Morgan – 7 ideas in 7 minutes (and well done for your first TM presenting!)

Ian Addison – messing about with photo editing

Danielle Kohlman – Purple pages of progress (AfL)

Phil Wright – different places and using the Historic Dockyard resource

Nic Boardman – Using Socrative

Naomi Ward – turning poetry into video games

Charlotte Hamilton – A bag full of bits

Louise Boston-Mannah – the Global Learning Programme

@priorygeography Digital Leaders / Curriculum Hackers Robbie and Jon
@priorygeography Digital Leaders / Curriculum Hackers Robbie and Jon

Everyone who shared brought something new, something useful. A rapid fire 2 or 7minute insight into an innovative teacher’s mind that gave you food for thought. So thank you! Plus all the resources were my favourite price – FREE! The presentations give you some clues into the action, but for more information get in touch with each speaker personally. Email or DM me on twitter if you do not know how to contact.

We ended with a fantastic and inspiring keynote from Tim Rylands who shared a whole realm of interesting links and ideas, in a brilliant and humorous fashion. It was hard to keep up, and the twittersphere hashtag went unusually quiet at this moment as we were all gripped and avidly listening. Loving the look of Tag Galaxy – especially as a geographer – this looks a great resource to visualise the world and compare places, cultures, etc,. I already use If This Then That and recommend this as a great way of linking media / social media / resources etc such as dropbox, twitter, facebook, etc,. Clevr looks an interesting tool to make panoramas, and I agree with him in sharing the utility of Photosynth – dead easy and available on multi-platform / devices. Far too many fantastic links for me to share and do justice to, so check out his blog for his own discussion on them. So thank you Tim, it was a privilege to have you join us. Sarah also rushed around taking fantastic photos, such as a few seen here, and putting all the cogs in place so thank you as well. For Tim’s write-up and all the images, head over to his inspiring blog here . Also all the links that he mentioned in his talk are very kindly being shared via this link.

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Thank you to everyone who came and participated – we had a 100 people taking part as presenters or ‘enthusiastic lurkers’ and even had others from afar joining in via twitter to get involved. Thank you also to two of the @priorygeography Digital Leaders and Curriculum Hackers, Robbie and Jon, who came along voluntarily in their own time to simply listen, and then went round the room during breaks networking like pros! They are a credit to the school and I’m proud to work with them.

It was great to see new presenters who have never spoken before, and all did a fantastic job. I shall certainly be trialling lots of the ideas shared. Particularly keen to get school involved with the 100 Words Challenge (see @theheadsoffice or 100wc.net) and can see this having a very beneficial impact on our need to improve literacy and embed this whole school. I also loved some of the photo editing tools shared by Ian Addison such as picmonkey.com, 5 card flickr, or Animoto. Some great ideas from newbie presenter Shorny Morgan such as #poundlandpedagogy – awesome idea for starters to lessons, for inspiring literacy responses to stimuli, for enquiry. Also liked the idea of ‘paint chart literacy’ – having a paint colour swatch chart and asking students to start with one adjective at the bottom and then having to think of a simile / synonym for the other colours above. Great stuff 🙂 Oh, and she also has a ton of Snakes and Ladders boards if anyone wants some! The elegant and enthusiastic Rachel Jones shared great enquiry and ‘public outcomes’ resources – to encourage student projects by making their work visible to the outside world, giving students an audience. I already loved Hackasaurus from her presentation last TM but do recommend it again – create ‘hacked’ websites like your very own BBC page or fake CIA page! Nik Doran shared how to make Maths artistic and pretty using Desmos to visualise graphs; could be a great tool to enable access to analysis – possibly something to try for the old controlled assessment enquiry in future. And Louise Boston-Mannah spoke briefly to introduce everyone to the Global Learning Programme – a project that Priory Geography will be taking part in. The idea is for schools to collaborate to share resources, teaching and learning ideas, and have cross-theme and cross-curricular links designed to improve young people’s access to ‘the global dimension’ (topics that have a global aspect, e.g. development, human rights, climate change, democracy, politics, poverty, trade, culture, etc,.). @priorygeography will be the leading Expert Centre school for this programme for the Hampshire area and if you are interested in taking part then please get in touch. You can be from any school or college, any age range, any subject. There is funding available from the GLP for schools that participate in order to free up teacher time / visits to other schools / trips. I’ll be sending out requests to participate soon!

Congratulations to the lucky four who won the vouchers from Rising Stars logo – you should get your confirmed e-voucher soon! And thank you to Rising Stars for agreeing to donate the prizes and sponsor refreshments. It really helped.

I thought all the presenters did a fantastic job, and there is too much to write for here so apologise if I haven’t mentioned you personally – it’s not judgement! Just have a look at the resources on slideshare and any questions get in touch with them or come through me.

I’ll finish with a beautiful quote shared by Julia and just say thank you again, and roll on next time! Bigger and better!

“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.” (Ursula K. LeGuin)