The sections..... • Introduction – setting young people in context • Chapter1: Young People’s Geographies: implications for secondary school geography • Chapter 2: Young Peoples’ conceptions of geography in education • Chapter 3: Children’s geographies in the primary school • Discussion: Underpinnings of the section • Childhood(s) as a social construction with its/their own power geometries (Massey 1993) • Children are knowledgeable about their own lives – expert-witnesses • Children are not ‘empty vessels’ – they are often more worldly –wise than adults care to admit. (Thomson,P. forthcoming) • With hearts and minds fixed firmly on a school curriculum that contributes to a more equitable, just and sustainable world, the authors whose work is represented in this first section of Geography, Education and the Future seek to challenge and unsettle some current dominant classroom assumptions. They query what counts as significant knowledge and how it is produced and reproduced in schools and they offer alternatives grounded in practice and in theory. Young people in context.... • Territoriality • Anti-social behaviour • Rising youth unemployment • ‘Islanding of childhood’ (Gilles, 2008) • Retreat from the streets – Matthews and Limb (2000) • Increase in public –space surveillance – Mosquito devices There is not one childhood but many, formed at the intersection of different cultural, social and economic systems, natural and man-made physical environments. Different positions in society produce different positions. (James and Prout xiii) • There is no longer a shared time or territory of childhood, no mainland of childhood, only infinite archipelagos of stranded children, even more dependent on adults to transport them from island to island and keep them on schedule in their increasingly hurried lives.’ (Zeiher in Gillis; 316). And at the same time.... In the past thirty years the processes associated with globalisation have produced more diversity than similarity. We now live in an era when modernity takes many forms and childhood comes in many varieties. Instead of declining, child labour has increased in many underdeveloped countries;...ever-larger generations of unschooled street children engage in crime and violence; child prostitution is on the rise and child soldiers have become common place in Africa and Asia. (Gilles.J :2008: 322) What’s this got to do with school geography? • ‘Funds of knowledge’ – Hall and Thomson (2008) • Making connections – Roberts (2010) • Power-geometries – Massey (2003) • Cultural understanding– Lambert and Morgan (2010) Young People in Castle Square, Swansea. Lambert and Morgan (2010) Teaching Geography 11-18 A Conceptual Approach Young people’s geographies framework Young people’s lives and the Conversation discipline of geography come together Collective responsibility for the Ideas diversity development of geographical and improvement knowledge Learning from curriculum making (North East group) • Initially many in the geography education community were sceptical about pupil involvement in curriculum development • There were concerns about whether the pupils were old enough to be involved in developing the curriculum • There were doubts about young people’s abilities to make sense of their own geographies • The pupils had never experienced such involvement before, always having been passive recipients of other people’s knowledge and never fully engaged in making their own • To begin with the pupils’ experiences had to be carefully scaffolded and modelled The contentious curriculum • Questions of knowledge - what is taught to whom, why, and to what ends. In what ways does what we teach reflect the society we aspire to/have/had. • High-stakes curriculum debates because of the multiple childhoods that co-exist: interior journeys (Green: Curriculum making with the academic discipline as a resource Geography: the academic discipline Students Geography: geographical the school lives subject Geography teachers To conclude..... An exclusive and excluding curriculum that only values certain kinds of knowledge and experience signals to many young people how we, as a society, value them now - as individuals as members of diverse communities and as contributors to wider society. It could be deemed educationally careless to ignore the social and cultural capital of this significant group whose spatial lives are shaped by powerful local-global forces; ignoring these geographies runs the risk of alienating significant proportions of young people and of leaving school geography out of kilter with their needs and interests. Young people’s geographies, as a research paradigm, can tell us a great deal about the lives of young people in order to support the development of a more relevant and inclusive school curriculum, but, accessing these geographies can only happen with the consent and participation of young people themselves.
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