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									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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