Wednesday, 28 August 2013

How do my summer holidays link to Geography?

I asked my Year 8 students this question last year as a homework task and some of them struggled to link their everyday experiences to a subject. To help them out this year I started to think about how my own experiences this summer could be linked to Geography.

1. 7 days in Halkidiki, Greece

Tourism - I was surprised to see how many cars with Serbian number plates were squeezed along the beach front. Thinking logically a trip to Halkidiki for Serbians is like a trip for Brits to France - good enquiry question - "Why are there so many Serbians in Greece?". The local hotel owners were less than complimentary about the Serbs complaining that they do not spend enough money in local tavernas or shops, choosing instead to bring their food with them in their cars.
2. 3 days on a narrow boat in Oxfordshire
Rivers - As a group of complete novices navigating the Thames (thanks to College Cruisers) we soon discovered the difficulties of meanders (natural river features) and locks (human river features). "Why did Miss Norman have to go round bends and use giant keys?"
3. 4 days in Plymouth
Urban rebranding - As we reached Plymouth after 4 hours of driving we were greeted by a new sign declaring Plymouth as 'Britain's Ocean City' - comments were passed as to whether this was fair on other cities, e.g. Cardiff. I have been visiting Plymouth for five years and never before have I seen so much building and so many new projects. It is clear that in the space of a year they have injected money into the local economy and are trying to rebrand Plymouth. Much of the building is related to the university or art and design college but Plymouth is starting to move away from that tired seaside town look.
This year I think I will be a little more kind towards the year 8s who hand in their homework - it isn't too easy a task but definitely a useful one. As many academics have argued linking our everyday experiences to the subject is vital so that students understand the importance of Geography and feel more motivated to learn. From a teacher's perspective, thinking about your summer holiday could even create some intriguing enquiry questions! 

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