Critical School Geography, Education for Global Citizenship

ChapterOne                     Introduction

This opening chapter outlines the core knowledge, or key ideas from political economy, that should be explored in the geography curriculum by the time students reach the age of 16.  These ideas pay particular attention to neoliberal capitalism, the form of society in which they are growing up and which shapes both their concerns, identities, outlooks and prospects, and the places, spaces and forms of nature that surround them. The chapter then introduces socialist alternatives and debates on the Left that are relevant to how teachers present socialism alongside capitalism in the classroom.  It concludes by introducing Unesco guidance on education for sustainable development and global citizenship and concludes by considering the extent to which ESDGC is taught in the countries of the UK.

CurriculumUnitOne  Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution and its Impact on Healthcare

Students consider the potential and record of 21st Century socialism in Venezuela with particular reference to healthcare. (Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 Good Health and Well Being)

ChatperTwo               Critical Geography, Critical Education

The chapter outlines the history and characteristics of critical geography and critical education, bringing each alive by considering the work of one critical geographer and two critical educators. It then considers how the neoliberal reform of schooling has marginalized critical education before suggesting how critical theories of education, developed by the followers of Marx and Foucault, shed light on spatial divisions of schooling, the focus of the associated curriculum unit.

CurriculumUnitTwo          Spatial divisions of schooling

This unit examines issues of secondary school provision, parental choice and social justice in one local authority area. The data presented is for Bedford Borough but is it hoped that teachers will research and use data for their own local area using the Bedford data as a guide. (SDG 4 Quality Education)

ChapterThree                       School Students and the Geography of Happiness

This chapter focuses on the students in geography classrooms, their happiness, concerns, politics, and identities, together with the  need for realistic curriculum responses. After reporting the results of recent surveys of teenagers’, young adults’ and teachers’ concerns, unhappiness and engagement with politics, it looks for explanations by reference to the concept of alienation and the ways in which many students and teachers find schooling an alienating experience leading to disaffection, misbehaviour, exclusions, and high teacher turnover. Contemporary critical theories focussing on alienation are then outlined. These suggest that the speeding up of social life leads many to experience the world as indifferent or repulsive to their true needs, and that the solution lies in changed forms of development that allow the self and the world to resonate with one another.

CurriculumUnitThree        Happiness and Equality: the UK and Finland compared

The geography of happiness suggests that in Scandinavian countries, with a different culture and an alternative form of capitalism, citizens and school students are happier. This curriculum unit focuses on SDG 10 (reduced inequalities) by examining Finland: the reasons why citizens report higher levels of happiness and well-being, and the role of schooling in fostering these.


Future chapters are likely to cover knowledge, critical pedagogy, nature, place, space, and citizenship.

The next chapter is likely to be published on this website in December 2018.


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