GlosGeog manages to squeeze in another event!


Our final GlosGeog (Gloucestershire’s local Geographical Association [GA] branch) event of this academic year welcomed back Dr Liam Saddington, Teaching Associate in Human Geography in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge. Liam had previously spoken to Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 students within Gloucestershire. Since the feedback was so positive and Liam has been actively engaged in a climate change themed project with Key Stage 3 pupils recently, it was deemed appropriate to see if he could deliver a session for those in Years 7 to 9. We decided to offer this as a virtual, interactive session bearing in mind how busy this stage of the academic year can be. As a result, we had more than 550 students and teachers on board today from 17 schools located throughout the UK.

Liam began by asking us to consider the question below (‘Why should human geographers care about climate change?‘). After briefly outlining the structure of the afternoon’s session, Liam discussed the science behind climate change.

He then challenged students to three questions, which saw a stream of comments added within minutes to the chat feed.

He drew on some of his experiences as a geographer to exemplify various points. This also highlighted to pupils where studying geography might take you; Liam has youth on his side and is exceptionally well-travelled!

Liam introduced the idea that climate change may be inherently racist and talked about climate justice.

Students were asked ‘Who is responsible for climate change?‘ and numerous comments appeared in the chat feed. The mention of Taylor Swift seemed to engage the audience! Currently on tour within the UK, with many youngsters having attended or looking forward to one of her concerts, made this very relevant. We also thought about the impact of Swifties (her fans) on our planet.

Liam prompted students to define ‘migration‘ and contemplate how this may be linked to climate change. This provoked some lively discussion in classrooms and, again, several comments were inserted into the chat feed.

Next, Liam focused on climate change and low-lying islands, especially Tuvalu in the South Pacific, which he has been fortunate to visit many times over the past few years. This is also a case study that features often in GCSE and A level textbooks. He also referenced geopolitics at this point (Can you be a country without any land? Can you keep a passport? What are the political consequences of this?). Liam shared first-hand experiences of Tuvalu, explaining about how they are adapting to climate change (the Tuvaluan Coastal Adaptation Project and Falesuiti Ecological Island).

Finally, it was time for a degree of reflection. There was much consensus at this point within the chat feed, with some very valid suggestions proposed and justification given.

Liam concluded the session with a list of key points.

We allocated 15 minutes towards the end for a Q&A session. A handful of questions were added to the chat feed and posed directly to Liam, which he answered confidently and comprehensively.

In the remaining few minutes or immediately after the session, teachers were requested to complete an online form so that we could capture pupil and staff voice, as well as gain some indication as to their wishes for support and events for the next academic year. Now, time to get planning!

Some of their ‘concluding comments‘ can be viewed below:

Thanks so much from Calder. Really appreciated.

Thank you so much. Some interesting discussions taking place!

Thanks for such a great session from OIEA – our students really enjoyed it.

Thank you so much, it was very interesting.

Thank you so much for the fabulous talk!

Thank you very much – very interesting!

Thank you so much. We all really enjoyed the session.

We really enjoyed the session, thank you.

I’d be really keen to do this session again with another year group, so please do keep us posted when the date is confirmed.  Thank you for organising and to the presenter. 

Thank you for another very informative session today.

Very informative; educative; open-minded.

Very interesting with great examples.

A really engaging and informative discussion. Students particularly liked the link to ‘Is climate change racist?’ as an alternative viewpoint.

Swift; thought-provoking; educational; engaging.

Exciting to learn about up-to-date and ‘real life’ geography which is in the news all the time.

Interesting perspectives on geography.

Thought-provoking session.

Students enjoyed thinking about things differently and seeing a real life geographer’s work.

As teachers, we found the climate change session to be highly interesting and beneficial for our CPD, but the students, having just finished sports day, seemed less engaged.

Interesting, thought-provoking, and informative.

Many thanks to Liam for giving up his time to inspire and enthuse so many young geographers. They appear to have gained so much in such a short space of time; an insightful, relevant and purposeful afternoon.

Enjoy the forthcoming summer break and watch out for news about our next GlosGeog events very soon!

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