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Secondary: Geography

Who is this course for?

Geography prepares pupils to make sense of the world and ensures they can engage in debates around the challenges that will shape our societies and environments at the local, national, and global scales. This course is for geographers who can see the importance of teaching geography as a subject for life with academic rigour, which draws upon but also transcends pupils’ everyday knowledge and experiences.

Candidates come from a wide variety of background: some straight from a Bachelor’s degree, Masters or PhD; some who have worked in the education sector; and others with experience in industry. Although the majority of our trainees will have a degree in geography, we will consider candidates with a diverse range of subject expertise; such as environmental sustainability, geology, or international development.

What will I study?

Trainees will explore critically the nature of the subject and appreciate geography as an ever-evolving disciplinary resource. Geography has enduring concepts, such as the environment, borders, nations, and globalisation, but ideas around these concepts are not static. Thus, trainees will look at the ways in which we can teach pupils about how these ideas remain in motion and how this geographical knowledge is influenced by the lenses through which geographers have viewed the world.

Geography teachers introduce pupils to a range of specialist vocabulary. Trainees will consider how pupils secure and retain this geographical knowledge, and the role this knowledge plays in their explanations of geographical processes and landforms. The course places a strong emphasis on the importance of geography teachers being able to teach a knowledge-based curriculum, whereby it matters what pupils learn and whether pupils can remember what they learn.

Whilst the acquisition of geographical subject knowledge will in itself help pupils to see the world differently, as geography teachers we also draw on other sources to help pupils use the eyes of artists, novelists, poets, explorers, and historians to delve into the distinctiveness of landscapes and places pupils encounter in geography. Trainees will explore the different types of geographical sources that can be used and examine how these can support geographical reasoning and enquiry in the classroom.

GIS provides powerful tools for the visualisation and spatial analysis of geographical information and should be embedded across the geography curriculum so that it can be leveraged effectively as a way of developing pupils’ geographical knowledge. Trainees will explore how GIS can be used to explore geography and geographic data in challenging ways, enabling pupils to ask and answer complex questions about the world around them.

The course provides trainees with various opportunities to develop the ability to plan and lead geographical fieldwork with confidence. As geographers, we have the privilege of being able to give pupils a geographical lens to look at their locality in all sorts of exciting ways that transform the familiar into something completely different and render the invisible visible. High-quality fieldwork experiences can transform pupils' geographical knowledge and ensures that young people are able to appreciate the complexity of real-world geography.

How will I learn to teach geography well?

Through professional practice and through critically reflecting on your own practice. Your school placements will give you the opportunity to teach, to observe, to practise, to experiment, and to innovate. Your in-school training programme will be highly personalised and will often vary from week to week. Through regular discussion with your mentor, you will have the opportunity to reflect on your teaching practice within your school context, so that you can identify the ways in which you need to develop as a specialist and as a professional.

Through participating within a community of practitioners, which includes other trainees on the same course, mentors, and the subject specialist at the Inspiration Trust. As a trainee, you become part of this interconnected web of professionals, all of whom are developing and promoting the subject. You will have the opportunity to observe some of these professionals at work; to discuss with them the challenges and opportunities you experience; to learn from them and their various approaches to the discipline. As part of your teacher training programme, you will receive subject-based enhancement with curriculum experts. Both participation in this community and participation in the discussions taking place throughout it are essential to learning to teach geography well.

One of the most distinctive characteristics of Inspiration Teacher Training is the value it places on the richness of knowledge, and you will develop both your knowledge as a professional and as a subject specialist. Geography is a far-reaching discipline, and therefore all trainees will spend time ensuring their subject knowledge is secure and continues to develop by engaging with contemporary geographical scholarship. You will deepen your knowledge through reading and discussing the works of academic geographers and relate this to the teaching of geography in the classroom. Drawing upon a range of education research and geography education research, you will develop the professional knowledge to shape your research practice with sensitivity to all we know about learning, reading and memory. Throughout the course you will develop the subject and professional knowledge to join the wider teaching community as a scholar and able practitioner. We have strong links with other institutions and organisations, such as the Geographical Association and the Royal Geographical Society. Trainees will be supported to participate within these “communities of practice” and engage with wider discourse in the geography education community.

How much funding will I get?

Fee-paying trainees will be eligible for a bursary of £15,000 to help fund the course. You could also apply for a scholarship of £17,000. You can find more information about funding and bursaries on the UCAS website and Get Into Teaching.

You may be able to apply for a student loan to help pay your tuition fee or living costs - please visit www.gov.uk/student-finance for further information.