Geography Lessons In Primary Schools
By Dr Charles Margerison
What should students learn about people and places between the ages of 7 and 11?
That was a key question at the heart of a major report recently published by the British Government. The conclusion was that it is time to rethink the geography curriculum.
Not before time many will say, as students are increasingly aware of geographical issues from their personal experiences.
For example ….
- In many British school classrooms, over one-third of the students were born in a country outside of the U.K., or have relatives in other countries.
- Also, an increasing percentage of students have visited foreign countries on holidays.
- In addition, by watching the news and documentary shows on television, students gain information about different countries.
This means that students absorb their basic understanding of Geography outside of the classroom.
Implications and Applications
The role of the geography lesson at Primary level should include a focus in developing students conversational/oracy skills about countries and cultures.
We have supported this by creating educational resources that enable all students to contribute via www.candokidsband.com .
This is done through the provision of 5 minute animated videos on countries such as France, China, Brazil, England, USA and many others.
These are introduced by a virtual music group called The Can Do Kids Band. There are five members representing students from India, South Africa, USA, Australia and China.
Their motto is ‘ follow the music and learn about people and places.’ The videos included in the resource suite show key areas of each country and introduce cultural and travel factors.
This innovative approach to studying the way of life in different countries quickly gains the attention of students.
In particular, every student gains the same information which serves to foster discussions.
The well-tested lesson plan enables the educator to facilitate discussions about the chosen country, rather having to teach in the traditional way.
Introduction – 5 minutes – The educator introduces the country to be studied, and informs the students that they will discuss the key points in groups of 4 or 5.
Video – 5 minutes -A video from the website www.candokidsband.com is shown in the classroom.
Discussions – 15/20 minutes – Students meet in groups and elect a note-taker and chairperson. Their task is to list as many points of interest they can remember about the country.
Presentations – 15 minutes- Each spokesperson reports on the group discussions.
Review – 10 minutes -Educator comments on the presentations and adds any project work required.
By enabling students to share their views, the educator can see the level of comprehension.
The process also provides a focus for student voices, where they can learn from each other.
Our experience shows that students also develop their creativity by making presentations in different ways.
Teamwork and supportive relationships between students improve and lead to enhanced learning.
This approach can be used in many areas of the curriculum and is particularly effective in Geography, Social Studies and Intercultural Learning.