Time to sit back and relax!

CPD For Me

Every so often, it is rather nice to just be able to sit back, relax and take it all in! With no responsibility for any administration, preparation or delivery this evening, I could enjoy being absorbed in all things geographical. The line-up for the Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG)’s virtual Secondary Geography Teach Meet looked impressive and I was keen to hear what each presenter had to share (https://www.rgs.org/events/upcoming-events/online-secondary-geography-teachmeet).

First up was Jo Clarke from Queen Anne’s School. Jo talked about using audio and visual feedback. She provided examples as to how she had utilised this strategy to give feedback to her A level geography students regarding essays that they had written and with GCSE geography pupils following their mock exams. Whilst Jo did highlight a few challenges that might need to be overcome, the benefits of this approach were made very clear. It will certainly be something that I will be referencing in our Primary Geography Subject Leader Network meetings next academic year as I feel this may be useful with younger aged pupils too.

Next, Guy Paxman from the University of Durham explored the Greenland Story Map series. I have fond memories of my time spent reading geography at the University of Durham many moons ago now! Guy drew our attention to the hidden landscapes of Greenland (what lies beneath the ice that covers 80% of the world’s largest island) and showcased some of the content from four Story Maps that have recently been produced for post-16 students to investigate (https://www.antarcticglaciers.org/glaciers-and-climate/changing-greenland-ice-sheet/greenland-storymap-series/).

Jen Monk of Stretford High School followed, taking the theme of ‘Windows and mirrors, ensuring diversity in our curriculum‘. Jen’s contribution was enlightening and thought-provoking. She discussed the school’s approach to decolonising the curriculum; encouraging youngsters to look through windows and look back at themselves via mirrors, opening up their world and highlighting the diversity that exists.

Fiona Sheriff, whom I have encountered many times on Twitter/X, is based at Kingsthorpe College. Fiona’s presentation, entitled ‘Beautiful books to inspire curiosity in the classroom‘, provided several new suggestions for me to delve into. Some of the books she showcased could be used with pupils at primary level and will be recommendations that I relay to teachers at our next in situ and virtual Primary Geography Subject Leader Network meetings.

Afterwards, Kit Rackley, Regional Hub Manager for the East of England, informed us all about the new Climate Ambassadors Scheme and how we might engage with it. Kit’s enthusiasm is contagious; I think all attendees tonight will be accessing the associated website and making contact with their local hub managers in the not too distant future (https://climateambassadors.org.uk/).

Finally, Alan Parkinson, the new Vice President – Education at the RGS-IBG and Head of Geography at King’s Ely Junior School, considered ‘Should I stay or should I go: leveraging professional support for pedagogical longevity‘. Alan is so knowledgeable and a great presenter. You can see why he has recently been appointed to this role and I look forward to witnessing the influence that he will have on educators through the Society’s future activities. He has also set up a new blog, which is definitely one to bookmark as a favourite and follow regularly (https://atthehomeofgeography.blogspot.com/).

Teach Meets are a fantastic means of enhancing your geographical knowledge, understanding and skills, as well as gaining inspiration to ensure that geography remains fresh and alive both within and beyond the classroom.

Many thanks to all those involved in this evening’s event, whether you were working behind the scenes or presenting to the attentive audience.

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