Making my Place in the World

Making my Place in the World is a new project which was undertaken by the Geographical Association through 2011-12. It was funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, along with other geography colleagues.

The project involved students from schools in two communities: Sheffield and Greater Manchester. Four schools were involved in total.

The project had a basis in local fieldwork and conversations about how it was changing.
It also encouraged students to play a part in shaping their community as active citizens by promoting conversations about the places in which they live. Through these conversations, students developed their speaking and listening skills, increased their knowledge of the local area and developed confidence, self-esteem and awareness of themselves as participants and agents of influence in the world.

The resources on the website would provide the basis for an excellent project exploring the local area, or a series of staff development sessions looking at urban change.

There are starter activities, resources on virtual fieldwork and examples of student work.
There were several aims of the project, which were not restricted to geography:
Developing speaking and listening skills - by exploring the students' own areas they take on the role of 'expert' and can share their specialist knowledge with teachers, members of the community and other students. This will lead to increased confidence, self-esteem and improved speaking and listening skills.
Learning about the local area - by engaging in units of work about familiar areas, taking part in field visits and speaking to local experts, students will find out more about the places they use on a regular basis.
Career aspirations - by talking to professionals such as architects, town planners and developers, the project also aims to inspire students about the range of career options available to them connected with creating and improving places.
Influence in the local community - by meeting with councillors and local residents, students will begin to realise that they can influence change within their own communities.

The school resources at the end are well worth delving into, as they include a range of powerpoints packed with useful strategies, as well as the supporting sheets which students had as they moved on their journey through developing their speaking and listening as well as becoming much more familiar with their local area and the decisions that were made about it. There is a wealth of information here, as well as a useful project evaluation which provides some additional useful context.

Visit the website to get a sense for what the project involved..