Notes to Teachers 1 Notes To Teachers Notes to Teachers 2 “Curriculum Support Materials for Senior Secondary Geography (S4-6): Part 1” is the first one of a series of curriculum support materials produced by the Personal, Social and Humanities Education Section to facilitate the implementation of the S4-6 Geography Curriculum in 2009. It aims at providing teachers with ideas and exemplars on how to design their senior secondary geography lessons in accordance with the curriculum aims, objectives and other suggestions in the Geography Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4-6) (Curriculum Development Council and Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, 2007) (hereafter as “the Curriculum”). In this CD-ROM, two issues and one elective are chosen to demonstrate some key ideas on learning and teaching as suggested in the Curriculum. They are: Issues: Disappearing Green Canopy — Who should pay for the massive deforestation in rainforest regions? Global Warming—Is it fact or fiction? Elective: Weather and Climate They are included in the CD-ROM to show how: enquiry learning can be implemented in the learning and teaching of the Curriculum (see P.4-6); the learning and teaching of different issues and electives in the Curriculum can be integrated in a structured manner (see P.6 and Appendix 1); elements of “reading to learn”, “map reading and interpretation” and “fieldwork” can be incorporated in the learning and teaching of the curriculum content (see P.7-9); differences in learners’ abilities and interests can be catered for (see P.10-12). Notes to Teachers 3 The resources included in this educational package are shown in the following table: Notes to Teachers Disappearing Green Canopy— Who should pay for the massive deforestation in rainforest regions? Enquiry-based worksheets Information Folder (1): Adventures in the Tropical Rainforests—The Story of Percy Fawcett Global Warming—Is it fact or fiction? Enquiry-based worksheets An Inconvenient Truth—Scene Links Worksheets on “An Inconvenient Truth” and Critical Thinking Skills—“Using ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ to improve students’ critical thinking skills” Posters Information Folder (1): Global warming Information Folder (2): Heat wave in Europe 2003 Information Folder (3): The disappearance of Tuvalu Information Folder (4): Existing ways to alleviate global warming Information Folder (5): New technologies and methods on combating global warming A report on “The Impacts of Climate Change in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta” (Civic Exchange, 2006) Weather and Climate Enquiry-based worksheets Worksheets on “Sandstorms” and Critical Thinking Skills—“Extended Activities—‘Sandstorms’ and the development of critical thinking skills” Information Folder (1): Sandstorms in North China Information Folder (2): The drought problem in North China Information Folder (3): The drying up problem of Huang He Information Folder (4): South-North Water Transfer Project The learning and teaching materials in this educational package are by no means exhaustive. Teachers should modify them to suit the needs, interests and abilities of their students. Notes to Teachers 4 (1) Advantages of learning through enquiry: As suggested in the Curriculum, learning through enquiry is the key learning and teaching strategy in Senior Secondary Geography lessons. Enquiry learning can provide students with the capacity and motivation to become active learners, team workers, critical and creative thinkers, problem-solvers and decision makers. Through enquiry, students can acquire geographical concepts and knowledge in a challenging and authentic way. In this process, students are encouraged to ask geographical questions and to seek answers independently. The information and experience they gain enable them to look at issues or problems from different perspectives. Students are provided with opportunities to discuss and collaborate with one another in carrying out investigations and solving problems, which helps them to become more open-minded, and to respect different views. They also learn to be more self-directed in their own learning. (2) The route of geographical enquiry in Senior Secondary Geography: Geographical enquiry in Senior Secondary level usually starts with identifying an issue, a problem or an interesting phenomenon / pattern with a strong spatial and/or ecological perspective. Through using the five “W”s of geography – “What”, “Where”, “How”, “Why” and “What if” — to examine issues, students establish a strong geographical perspective; and key geographical concepts and knowledge are then introduced to help them understand, interpret and analyse the issue. In the enquiry process, students have opportunities to develop a wide range of skills and abilities, clarify attitudes and values, and engage in an open exchange of ideas and opinions. As an example, Figure 1 shows a possible route for a geographical enquiry on the issue “Disappearing Green Canopy — Who should pay for massive deforestation in rainforest regions?”. In this CD-ROM, the worksheets of the three chosen topics (i.e. tropical rainforests, climate change and weather and climate) are all enquiry-based. They show how geography lessons of each of these topics can be carried out step-by-step following an enquiry approach. Notes to Teachers 5 Figure 1 Route for a geographical enquiry Notes to Teachers 6 (3) Integration of issues and electives in learning and teaching: In the enquiry learning process, the issues, problems and electives in the Curriculum can be dealt with in a cohesive and integrative way. Each of these issues, problems or electives should not be treated as a separated unit independent of one another. In fact, there exists a number of possible ways of integrating various issues, problems and electives into one single and complete unit of learning. It is suggested that teachers may use the “hot news” at the time period of their teaching to start the enquiry of several integrated issues, problems and / or electives, so as to highlight their interrelationships. Appendix 1 in this set of notes shows an exemplar on the integration of two issues and one elective with hot news in enquiry learning. (4) The role of teachers: In the learning and teaching of Senior Secondary Geography through geographical enquiry, teachers extend their role from being knowledge transmitters to learning facilitators. As facilitators, Geography teachers: help students to formulate appropriate learning goals and identify the most appropriate means of achieving them; assist students to develop positive learning habits, master learning strategies and develop metacognitive skills to steer their learning; create a stimulating and motivating learning context so that students are intellectually curious; and develop a supportive, tolerant and mutually accepting learning community to allow students to participate actively in learning without the fear of being criticised. Notes to Teachers 7 (1) Learning through maps: Maps are an important tool for geographers, as they provide an effective medium for storing, displaying, analysing and communicating information about people and places. In geographical education, maps are used to help students study relationships between people, places and the environment. Students need to be able to read and use maps for presenting, describing and explaining spatial information, patterns and processes they observe. During their studies, students should be provided with ample opportunity to work with a wide variety of maps drawn for different purposes and of different scales. In designing their map work activities, teachers should bear in mind that their tasks should enhance students’ competency in one or more of the following aspects of map reading and interpretation: locating places; map drawing, to support description of the site and situation; route-display, to show how to get from one place to another; storing and displaying information, being able to isolate and sort information from a wide range of different items, and to identify patterns and relationships in selected information; and solving problems by interpreting or inferring from the information provided in maps and being able to “see” meanings behind the spatial information, patterns and processes stored in maps. (2) Learning in the field: Fieldwork is a distinctive attribute of geography and has a long tradition as an established component of geographical education. It provides students with opportunities to apply the knowledge/concepts learned in the classroom to the real world, and through this to acquire new knowledge/concepts. In addition to knowledge acquisition and application, different subject-specific skills (such as field sketching and land use plotting) and generic skills (like problem-solving and critical thinking) can be developed through fieldwork. In the affective domain, fieldwork stresses the development of self-awareness and awareness of the needs and skills of others in the context of working cooperatively in a new environment. Notes to Teachers 8 To actualize these values and purposes, fieldwork should be viewed as a mode of “learning to learn” in addition to providing an opportunity to learn about a unique place or feature. The aim of fieldwork is to gain knowledge and enhance understanding. A focus on skills does not exclude knowledge and concepts; skills cannot be learned in a vacuum. Fieldwork activities should involve students in applying a range of practical, organisational and intellectual knowledge and skills to a “real world” problem or issue. Fieldwork should not be limited to be purely “field excursions” and “guided tours”, in which the teacher dominates most of the talking and students concentrate solely on listening, observing, note-taking and photo-taking. Fieldwork should be enquiry-based as this aligns with the aims and objectives of the Senior Secondary Geography curriculum. The starting point for such an approach is the identification of an issue or a problem related to the interaction of people and their environment in a specific locality. Strategies for identifying causes, processes and consequences are established by negotiation between students and teachers, leading to appropriate data collection, data analysis and presentation, and identification of possible management strategies / solutions. This approach involves the application of knowledge to real-life issues, and supports students in individual work. (3) Infusing map interpretation and fieldwork into the learning and teaching of the Curriculum content: As suggested in the Curriculum, 20% of the total lesson time of Senior Secondary Geography should be allocated to fieldwork activities and spatial data enquiry. Fieldwork and spatial data enquiry should not be treated as separate topics in Geography. Instead, they should be infused in the learning and teaching of both the Compulsory and Elective Parts of the Curriculum. In this educational package, fieldwork and map interpretation activities are designed as integrated parts with other enquiry activities in the enquiry-based worksheets of “Disappearing Green Canopy— Who should pay for the massive deforestation in rainforest regions?” as an example for teachers’ reference. Notes to Teachers 9 “Reading helps to develop thinking skills, enrich knowledge, enhance language proficiency and broaden life experience” (Learning to Learn: Life-long learning and whole person development (Curriculum Development Council, 2001)). In Senior Secondary Geography, teachers should motivate and provide students with sufficient opportunities to read in their enquiry processes. Teachers should also give guidance to them so as to enhance their learning capacity through reading. In geographical enquiry, different types of reading resources may be employed, such as newspaper resources, textbooks and web-based resources. In this educational package, various information folders are prepared for students to widen their exposure and knowledge in three geography areas—deforestation in tropical rainforests, climate change and weather and climate. Teachers may refer to P.3 of this set of notes for details. Besides these reading materials, two reference lists — “References for Teachers” and “References for students” are included in the Geography Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4-6) (Curriculum Development Council and Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, 2007) for teachers’ and students’ reference. Notes to Teachers 10 Since every learner has his/her own unique style of learning, there will always be variations in the ways students learn, the speed of learning, what they find difficult, and their level of attainment. The use of a variety of learning and teaching strategies is necessary in order to match learning opportunities to students’ learning needs. Differentiated learning strategies seek to create multiple paths for students with different abilities, interests or learning needs to experience equally appropriate types of learning. It requires students to take responsibility and ownership for their own learning, and provides opportunities for peer teaching and cooperative learning. The following are principles that should be considered in planning for effective differentiation: Clear learning objectives and learning outcomes in terms of students’ knowledge, understanding and skills need to be defined in advance; A variety of learning and teaching strategies to differentiate the learning experiences of students is required; A variety of resources is needed to support student learning; A variety of tasks and activities is required to provide different opportunities for student learning and for different learning outcomes; Opportunities which vary in the pace and depth of learning are needed; A range of strategies for the assessment of student learning is required; and Effective feedback on students’ learning outcomes should be given and targets for students’ future learning should be set. Differentiation can be achieved by outcome, by pace, by level of demand in the tasks set, by the resources available or by any combination of these. Below are four categories of strategies for achieving differentiation in learning geography. (1) Differentiation by outcomes: Students are given common tasks developed around common resources. Differentiation occurs in students’ different responses to the tasks. Notes to Teachers 11 (2) Differentiation by resources: All students work on the same tasks, but have access to different resources at different levels of complexity in line with their ability to read, understand and interpret the material. This can involve a range of textbooks and newspaper extracts with varying levels of readability, or different maps, diagrams and photographs. Different outcomes are obtained from the same tasks as a result of having access to different materials. (3) Differentiation by graded tasks and by outcomes: Students receive the same stimulus, materials and resources but follow a series of tasks or questions which become increasingly difficult and demanding. All of them should be able to finish the first task and then move on to progressively more difficult ones, until they reach their limit. It is expected that some students will not be able to progress beyond certain stage and complete all the tasks. (4) Differentiation by tasks and by resources: Specific tasks with different materials are designed for different ability groups. The material for the lower ability group might be a simple structured worksheet with some structured and some open-ended questions. For the more able, it could be an assignment which involves more complex materials and the testing of a hypothesis. The key purpose of introducing such strategies in the learning and teaching of Geography is to enable teachers to understand the learning differences of individual students. Teachers can then introduce appropriate support, such as adjusting the teaching schedule or improving the learning activities, to help each student with diverse learning styles, ability, and needs to maximise her/his potential. For each of the three topics in this CD-ROM, some activities are especially designed to cater for the differences in learners’ abilities and interests: Notes to Teachers 12 Issue / Elective Special designs catering for differences in learners’ abilities and interests Disappearing Green Canopy—Who Differentiation by resources should pay for the massive Extra reading materials about the tropical deforestation in rainforest regions? rainforests (i.e. “Information folder (1): Adventures in the Tropical Rainforests—The Story of Percy Fawcett”) can be given to those more able students to enhance their understanding about the environment and living things in the rainforests. It is also good for motivating students to learn this issue. Global Warming—Is it fact or Differentiation by tasks fiction? In the learning of this issue, some extra activities related to the film “Inconvenient Truth” and the training of critical thinking skills (i.e. “Worksheets on “An Inconvenient Truth’ and Critical Thinking Skills” 1) are prepared for those more able students (in addition to the “Enquiry-based worksheets”). Through these activities, more able students are given extra opportunities to develop their higher-order thinking skills — to draw out meaning from given data or statements and to judge the accuracy of the given data / statements, what to and what not to believe. Weather and Climate Differentiation by tasks and by resources In the enquiry learning process of this elective, “Worksheets on ‘Sandstorms’ and Critical Thinking Skills” is prepared for those more able students (in addition to the “Enquiry-based worksheets”). The worksheets include extra resources about the benefits of sandstorms to some parts of the world as well as activities for developing the thinking skills of these students. 1 Guidelines on using this set of worksheets can be found in Appendix 2. Notes to Teachers 13 Appendix 1 (1) The “hot news” about ethanol, biofuels, climate change and deforestation: In 2008, the use of ethanol and other types of biofuels in the transport sector is becoming common in the U.S.A and Brazil. In Brazil, about 40% of its transportation fuel demand is met by the supply of sugarcane ethanol. Since then, many people claimed that the use of biofuels was a good alternative to gasoline and was a measure to tackle the problems of global warming. On the other side, some people discovered the negative impact of using ethanol, especially corn ethanol, on the environment. Examples are shown in the headlines below: “Hyped as an eco-friendly fuel, ethanol increases global warming, destroys forests and inflates food prices.” Time, April 7, 2008 “Ethanol may increase greenhouse gas emissions, not reduce them” Green Living Online (http://www.greenlivingonline.com/Energy/cp-4873/) For details of the hot news about ethanol and climate change, you may ask students to study the following report: Notes to Teachers 14 The use of ethanol in the transport sector and the production of farm-grown fuels have made many farmers in the U.S.A. to switch their farms from producing food crops to fuels. For examples, a lot of corn fields in the U.S.A. are now producing corn for ethanol and many soybean farmers here switch to grow corn. These dramatic changes greatly affect world agriculture, food supply and prices on corn and soybean. Rising food prices and shortage of food in some regions of the world can be found. People then start converting cattle pastures or opening up new land in the tropical rainforests of some countries for planting soybean and other farm-grown fuels. In Brazil, farms for growing soybean (for meeting world demand and producing biofuels) are expanding into rainforests. In Indonesia and Malaysia, many palm oil trees are planted on cleared forest land for producing biodiesel. For a long period of time, the tall trees in the rainforests help to absorb carbon dioxide, a major type of greenhouse gas, in the atmosphere. The cutting and burning of these tropical vegetation not only reduce such absorption, these actions release a lot of carbon stored in vegetation into the atmosphere, thus enhancing global warming. According to some new research results in early 2008, the widespread use of corn ethanol would produce much more greenhouse gas emissions than the gasoline it replaced. Such increase is related to the land use changes associated with the production of corn ethanol and the chain effects mentioned above. Notes to Teachers 15 (2) Integrating two issues and one elective in the Curriculum: After reading the report, teachers may guide their students to search for additional information on the Internet and to think about those related geographical questions listed below: Geographical questions Related issue / elective in the Curriculum 1. What is happening in the tropical Disappearing Green Canopy—Who rainforests? should pay for the massive 2. Is deforestation in tropical rainforests deforestation in rainforest regions? related to the production of biofuels? Why? 3. Is “biofuels” the only one to blame? What other types of human activities can also be found in the tropical rainforests? 4. What is an ecosystem? What is a carbon cycle? 5. How is the carbon cycle disrupted by Global Warming—Is it fact or fiction? human activities? What are the consequences of these? 6. What is global warming? What are the causes of global warming? 7. What is the normal global distribution Global Warming—Is it fact or fiction? pattern of temperature? How is and insolation distributed on the Earth’s Weather and Climate surface? What are the factors that influence the global temperature distribution pattern? 8. Is “ethanol” or “biofuels” an Global Warming—Is it fact or fiction? eco-friendly method for combating global warming? Why? 9. What other types of measures can be used to alleviate the negative impact of global warming? According to the second column of the table above, students can also be led to learn related geographical concepts in the Curriculum. The sequence of enquiry of the two issues and one elective suggested above is only one of the examples for teachers’ Notes to Teachers 16 reference. Teachers may change the order of them and add additional items as you wish. For details of the curriculum content of these issues and elective, you may refer to the Geography Curriculum and Assessment Guide (Secondary 4-6) (Curriculum Development Council and Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority, 2007). You may also refer to the enquiry-based worksheets in this educational package for ideas and suggestions on enquiry-based activities related to these geographical questions. Notes to Teachers 17 Appendix 2 (1) Introduction: This set of learning and teaching material aims at improving students’ critical thinking skills through the film “An Inconvenient Truth” and the learning of the topic “Global Warming”. In “An Inconvenient Truth”, the United States former Vice President Al Gore gave a speech to promote the message of environmental conservation. He tried to explain how greenhouse effect threatened the survival of living things. He also pointed out that some scientists changed their standpoints under different political environments. Teachers can take this opportunity to teach students how to judge Gore’s arguments. Students may also criticize the arguments made by other scholars and scientists objectively. Teachers may use this film and the suggested activities in the worksheets to provide training on higher order thinking for their students, so as to enhance their critical thinking skills. Notes to Teachers 18 (2) The development of critical thinking skills and the content of the worksheets: Critical thinking is “drawing out meaning from given data or statements. It is concerned with the accuracy of given statements. It aims at generating and evaluating arguments. Critical thinking is the questioning and inquiry we engage in to judge what to and what not to believe” (Curriculum Development Council, 2002, p.52). Independent thinking, identifying what is right and wrong and reflection help students to draw out meaning from given data or reports, generate and evaluate arguments, and make their own judgments. The document Personal, Social and Humanities Education Key Learning Area Curriculum Guide (Primary 1-Secondary 3) (Curriculum Development Council, 2002, p.54) has stated the guidelines and requirement of developing critical thinking skills of senior secondary students (Key Stage Four): Critical Thinking Skills— Descriptors of expected achievements across the school curriculum Key Stage Four (senior secondary) Learners will learn to Distinguish real and stated issues, false and accurate images, and relevant and irrelevant evidence Recognize and challenge subtle consistencies and inconsistencies, unstated fundamental assumptions, permeating value orientations and ideologies Distinguish among sophisticated fact, opinion and reasoned judgment Be aware that the selection and deployment of information/facts is affected by personal perspective Draw warranted conclusions, predict and access probable consequences and make reasoned judement in reading, writing, and speech Notes to Teachers 19 The design of this set of worksheets is coincided with the above requirements of the Curriculum Development Council. The details of the worksheets are shown below: Content of the worksheets The worksheets include four activities: 1) Activity 1 is to examine Gore’s motivation behind his participation in environmental conservation campaign; 2) Activity 2 is to distinguish and classify different kinds of facts about global warming; 3) Activity 3 is to examine different stakeholders’ arguments, like Gore, skeptics and objectors so as to review the issue of global warming; and 4) Activity 4 is a summary of the topic “global warming”. Students should use all the information in Activities 1-3 to conduct a class debate. Each of Activities 1-3 mentioned above includes three stages - Stage 1: Activities before watching the film; Stage 2: Activities when watching the film; and Stage 3: Activities after watching the film. According to Bloom’s Taxonomy, cognitive domain, from simple to complex and from concrete to abstract, involves knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Each higher level includes the objectives of the previous one(s). The design of this set of worksheets also coincides with Bloom’s Taxonomy. For many activities in the worksheets, simple tasks are usually arranged as “Activities before watching the film” while those require higher-order thinking are set as “Activities when watching the film” or “Activities after watching the film”. In the worksheets “Using “An Inconvenient Truth” to Improve Students’ Critical Thinking Skills”, the film “An Inconvenient Truth” is used to improve students’ critical thinking skills. The worksheets serve as learning and teaching materials for students with different learning abilities and interests to learn about the issue of “global warming”. After teaching related basic concepts, teachers can let students of higher abilities and those senior form students to do the learning activities in this set of worksheets. Teachers can choose to use some of the activities in the worksheets according to their students’ abilities and interests. According to the needs, teacher should modify the worksheets to enhance their students’ critical thinking skills.
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