A variety of approaches
The use of a variety of approaches and methodologies will be an essential component of a successful geography programme. This section of the guidelines outlines some techniques which have been found to be particularly suited to geography activities in the primary school. Of course, the circumstances and needs of pupils, teachers, classes and schools will vary and some methods will suit particular topics better than others. The suggestions which follow can provide only general advice which should be adapted and modified to suit individual needs and circumstances.
In some of the sections the examples used are linked to particular classes in the school. However, this is by way of illustration only; most of the techniques described can be used profitably at all levels.
Other methodologies, some of which are suited for use in geography lessons, are discussed in the Teacher Guidelines for History and suggestions for the treatment of topics in the strand Environmental awareness and care are to be found in the Teacher Guidelines for Science.
Irrespective of the approaches selected, children's learning in geography should
- result from a process of enquiry in which children are encouraged to ask questions, to collect information and evidence, to search for patterns and to draw conclusions
- engage pupils in lively, purposeful activity in the classroom and in extensive exploration of the local environment
- build upon the geographical information about their immediate and other environments which children bring to school
- introduce pupils to geographical concepts in a structured and systematic way and provide plenty of opportunities for concepts to be revisited and refined
- arouse enthusiasm and curiosity about the environment
- develop skills of co-operation, communication and problem-solving
- develop an appreciation of and sense of responsibility for environments
- encourage the development of attitudes of mutual respect and tolerance.