Lisa Perez, in charge of coordinating the Best Practice Network CPD for all those establishments within the Gloucester Schools Partnership (GSP), approached me to see if I would be available to deliver two, twilight sessions to address areas for development linked to fieldwork and enquiry-led learning that had been outlined by teachers/SLT. Following a Zoom call, in which I provided a few suggestions as to how best to approach these, I went away and prepared all the materials ready for an interactive, two-hour session.
After the usual welcome and introductions, I outlined the aims and agenda for the afternoon.
Since I wished for delegates to be involved right from the start, we began with the below activity:
I created a continuum line towards the back of the classroom, so that participants could place themselves along it and I could quiz them directly as to why they had positioned themselves where they had; always good to instigate a change of state and degree of conversation from the onset! I then used the following as a stimulus for a flat chat activity, which provoked much subsequent discussion. This activity was new to many attendees and they were certainly keen to experiment with it within their own classrooms too.
The main session was divided into two parts; the first looked at progression in geographical fieldwork experiences, whilst the second provided an example of a sequence of lessons with opportunities for fieldwork across the school.
Initially, we unpicked the EYFS Framework and National Curriculum programme of study for geography at Key Stages 1 and 2 to gain further insight into what needed to be covered and when. I then drew delegates’ attention to the Geographical Association (GA)’s fantastic A progression framework for geography, available to purchase via their online shop (https://www.geography.org.uk/eBooks-detail/71c435a8-c548-4e38-80db-2305275fbee5), as well as a couple of outstanding articles written recently for their Primary Geography journal (Progression in geographical fieldwork experiences by Julie Tanner, Number 104, Spring 2021: https://www.geography.org.uk/Journal-Issue/a5d99686-24e8-41fe-8f69-ca261857c322 and Geography in the Early Years: Guidance for doing wonderful and effective geography with young pupils by Paula Owens, Emily Rotchell, Sarah Sprake and Sharon Witt on behalf of the GA Early Years and Primary Phase Committee (EYPPC), Number 109, Autumn 2022: https://www.geography.org.uk/Journal-Issue/e7710df0-7adb-48ac-b28a-3e5193bcbc0d).
Adapting Mrs Humanities’ Top Secret Teaching and Learning Missions, I challenged teachers to complete the following task:
After a short comfort break, we delved into an example of a sequence of lessons with opportunities for fieldwork across the school. I had selected the Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG)’s superb Stay Home Stories project (https://www.rgs.org/schools/teaching-resources/stay-home/meaningful-maps/ and https://www.rgs.org/schools/teaching-resources/stay-home/), released during the Covid-19 pandemic, but still with so much potential despite us no longer living in lockdown. It can easily be adopted, adapted and/or developed to suit a particular cohort or school and contains a plethora of ideas to facilitate impacting and purposeful local fieldwork. We paid particular attention to the third section, entitled Meaningful maps.
As always, I allocated some time for independent exploration. Having been in the classroom for many years myself, I understand how time-pressured teachers are. Unless they have fifteen minutes or so within a CPD session to explore resources and web-links, then it is likely that it will simply be added to their never-ending ‘to do list’ and investigated later at the weekend or during a holiday period (yes, the day job does not finish at 3.30 pm!).
We concluded with a time for reflection. Delegates were requested to fill in a Google Form online, the results of which will be analysed and comments taken on board when planning the next CPD session scheduled for Thursday 30th March 2023. There was also an opportunity for participants to ask any questions that they had before leaving the venue.
Good luck experimenting!