Friday, 17 October 2014

GeoCapabilities - what can Geography do for you?

I can share some news about an EU-funded project which I will be involved in for the next few years, into 2016.

As regular readers will know, I have been involved in a whole range of projects over the last few years, both before, during and after working for the Geographical Association, and then since returning to teaching. I am grateful to those colleagues who have involved me in such projects, and with whom I have worked - it has introduced me to many inspirational colleagues from across the EU and beyond, and developed my own personal learning network as well as informing my teaching and other work beyond the classroom.

The project I have been asked to join is called GeoCapabilities, and connects quite a few of the areas that I have worked in and on over the years, including the idea of 'curriculum making' which arose from the work of Professor David Lambert at the time we were creating the GA's manifesto for school geography: 'a different view' when I worked for the Geographical Association.

I previously attended one of the first meetings of the project at the EuroGeo conference in Bruges at Easter 2013. I blogged that back then: a 4 hour meeting involving some UK teachers and academics from a number of countries. The team have since presented at AAG and also at this year's GA conference (they also came to GeoBeerMeet which is a good sign)

I've also previously posted about this article in RIGEO, written by David Lambert with Michael Solem from the AAG and Sirpa Tani from the University of Helsinki. I get a name check at the end too, which is nice.
The article includes the following section which starts to explain the idea of geocapabilities:

We posit that the powerful knowledge offered by geography education consists of a deep descriptive ‘world knowledge’; a theoretically-informed relational understanding of people and places in the world; and a propensity and disposition to think about alternative social, economic and environmental futures. In the context of GeoCapabilities, we are interested in determining the ways in which geography can be considered a powerful knowledge in the education of young people. For curriculum making, this implies thinking about the role of geographic knowledge, skills, perspectives and values in developing the capabilities of young people. It also implies thinking in terms of how young people may become deprived of certain capabilities when they lack access to the powerful knowledge provided by geography education.

In other words (and I'm simplifying things here for my own benefit as much as anything): what can geography do for you, and what implications does this have for teachers developing the curriculum and becoming 'curriculum makers' ?

I've also blogged about a seminar with Margaret Roberts at the IoE that I was privileged to be able to attend last year.
Video of this event has now been made available and I shall post a link in another post, to be added shortly.

You can follow more of our activities by visiting the website.
Check the ABOUT tab for a brief set of introductory resources.

I will also be tweeting information and other news as the project develops over on the Twitter account for the project @geocapabilities - follow us on Twitter to see how the project develops.

My role will be to work on a web resource aimed at guiding teachers through a series of modules which will help them think through how Geocapabilities can inform their work. It will act as a portal, a discussion forum and also a CPD activity.

I'm looking forward to working with, and learning from people I've worked with, and learned from before.

Another interesting professional chapter begins....

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