Young People's Geographies

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ITE Case Study

Initial teacher Education and Young People’s Geographies

Buzz Off CampaignersGeography student teachers at the University of Nottingham are introduced to the Young People’s Geographies project during their PGCE course. They are encouraged to explore the potential of using the geographies of their students’ lives in combination with ideas from the vibrant subdisciplinary area of Children’s Geographies/Geographies of Youth to inform the curriculum making process.

Here Natasha Krzeminski tells her story about YPG and the development of a scheme of work during teaching practice. Included is the scheme of work, lesson plans and some of the resources used.

Natasha Krzeminski: Thoughts about YPG and a scheme of work

As part of my PGCE course at Nottingham University I planned a short module/scheme of work called ‘Young People’s Geographies’ and taught it to a Year 9 group across five lessons.

This scheme of work was part of our PGCE work on ‘Fantastic Geographies’. I decided to develop it around the theme of young people’s geographies to provide students with a different type of geography, a theme which they might not have encountered before and one that would help to illustrate the importance and influence of geography within their own lives. This work followed on nicely from the 'geographies of crime' scheme of work that the group had just completed.

Developing the scheme of work

I started out with a particular scheme of work in mind (which is not really what a young people’s geographies approach is about, but I had to start somewhere!). I soon began to realise, however, the opportunities that arose from discussions with the students and, in this case, their interest in the recent addition of the mosquito device in their local area/city centre.

The scheme of work then became very much student-led, shaped around their specific local experiences and knowledge of the area. This ultimately helped to heighten their involvement in discussions and the learning tasks involved.

CCTVSkateboardBarbed wire 

Introducing fieldwork

After looking at the mosquito device, the students then showed an interest in their own school environment and wanted to look at the adult restrictions carried out around the school. This led to fieldwork around the school campus in which students looked at inclusion and exclusion zones, bringing in ideas of the differences in youth culture and social groupings, and also adult intervention such as CCTV and areas which were ‘well monitored’ by school staff. The purpose of the fieldwork was to consider how to reduce social/cultural barriers perceived to exist within the school campus.

Evaluation

The scheme of work was a very enjoyable experience for me as a student teacher and in a module evaluation most students said they had really enjoyed learning about young people’s geographies and could now see how geography is more relevant to their own lives.

At first YPG content can seem difficult to introduce into lessons, but it should be thought of as a student-led approach focused around specific local experiences and real engagement with young people’s lives through discussion. I would recommend using the mosquito device material to groups as it allows students to identify with a real life concern and encourages student voice.

Resources

Buzz Off Campaign Video


References and Credits

Firth, R and Biddulph, M. (2007) GTIP Think Piece - Fantastic Geographies: Geography Teaching and the issue of Knowledge, Geographical Association.

Thanks to 11 MILLION for permission to use PowerPoints and images on this page - please visit their website at www.11million.org.uk.


(23.10.09)