Two GlosGeog events in one week!

GlosGeog

We could not forget Key Stage 3 geographers, of course!

Today’s event comprised a virtual offering in the morning for those further afield (which was also recorded) and an in situ session in the afternoon for teachers and Year 9 students at Cheltenham Ladies College (CLC) in Gloucestershire. In total, we had teachers and Year 9 pupils from 12 schools, all located in different regions of the UK, engaging with the session. The delivery of each workshop was largely down to Iram Sammar, supported by myself, Emma Espley. Iram has previously worked as a geography teacher in both Oxford and London and is currently studying towards a doctoral degree at King’s College London alongside her consultancy work.  She was recently presented with the Ordnance Survey Award from the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) for ‘excellence in geography education at secondary level’. Iram writes blog posts and book reviews for her website, Salaam Geographia, and the Geographical Association (GA) too. Further details about Iram can be found here: https://www.rgs.org/schools/geography-for-all/south-asian-heritage-month/

With Iram, students explored their personal geographies through a ‘Who am I?’ activity. Next, she quizzed pupils as to why certain stories never make it into textbooks or are not covered within the school’s geography curriculum. Iram had us looking at history and geography together, displaying some images of significant individuals, which we first had to identify, then consider why they were controversial and to whom and why students are not learning about their legacies in geography. She projected examples of case studies that had appeared in textbooks and questioned students about the accuracy of the content and messages portrayed. Next, pupils were provided with a number of statements and asked to place them in the fear zone, learning zone or growth zone according to where they felt they were in terms of being an anti-racist geographer. Iram prompted her audience to think about the type of person they are in different spaces, e.g. home; school; outdoors, and why representation matters in each one. She also talked about healing and asked individuals to suggest ways in which they might help someone experiencing racism within their school.

Throughout the workshop, Iram openly shared her own stories and answered any questions honestly and willingly. These tasks certainly encouraged youngsters to develop skills, such as becoming a critical learner.  The session also helped students understand the process of decolonising geography and to make sense of terms, such as colonisation and anti-racism. In addition, Iram’s presentation included ideas for improving her audience’s understanding of people and place ‘near and far’ within their own localities.  

Afterwards, teachers, along with their students, were directed to an online form to encourage a degree of reflection and enable us to gather staff and pupil voice. Judging from their ‘concluding comments‘ both teachers and students appeared to find the session hugely insightful and thought-provoking. Hopefully, it will have convinced many Year 9 to continue with geography at GSCE level as well.

Many thanks to all those at Cheltenham Ladies College for the warm welcome that we received, the array of refreshments that were supplied and their advance preparation to ensure the event ran as smoothly as possible.

Staff voice:

Engaging, eye-opening and starting conversations.

Loved that session!  Thank you.  It’s already led to some interesting conversations with students.  I don’t know if you or Iram could see, but there was a huge round of applause with cheers from all 40-ish students at Sutton Grammar School.  Sadly, my microphone wasn’t working, so Iram wouldn’t have heard anything.

Thank you so much for sorting my visit to CLC today. I am so appreciative!

Thank you so much for organising another amazing speaker. What an inspiration! I will send the link to the feedback form to the students to get them to complete it in lessons this week.

Pupil voice:

Educational, enlightening, impactful, purposeful and inspirational.

Most delectable, interesting and most informative.

It was very interesting indeed.

Interesting, eye-opening and amazing.

It was very exciting learning about how people are stereotyped because of their skin colour/religion.

It was really inspiring and I really enjoyed it.

It was very interesting and eye-opening. I never realised how much racisim and discrimination people face every day as I come from a pretty multi-racial country where there is less racisim than in some other places. It helped my realise that some comments made are actually racist, but people are just not edcuated in different cultures and ethnicities so I cannot judge them by these alone.

Enjoyable; learnt a lot.

Don’t prejudge people, don’t discriminate.

It was very interesting to hear her experiences. Also, I had never really thought about my culture as personal geography.

Learning more about being anti-racist, personal geography and what we can do to help.

Really interesting and informative as I haven’t had to deal with racism much.

Discovered more about racism, countries in real life and culture.

It was interesting and informative.

Informative; interesting; interactive; thoughtful.

We should look at a place from different perspectives and be an antiracist geographer.

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