Critical School Geography, Education for Global Citizenship

ChapterOne2019              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 postcapitalist 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 considering the extent to which ESDGC is taught in the countries of the UK.

CurriculumUnitOne2019       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 and GCE topic 7 actions we can take individually and collectively.

ChatperTwo2019          Critical Geography, Critical Education

Geogaphy and education are products of modern society. This chapter introduces modernity and the critical theory that developed to explain its failure to realise its promise of liberty, equaulity and fraternity.. It considers how critical theory has shaped critical geography and education before turning to neoliberal reform of schooling that has marginalized critical education. The critical ideas of Marx and Foucault, shed light on spatial divisions of schooling, the focus of the associated curriculum unit.

CurriculumUnitTwo2019       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, and GCE topic 8 ethically responsible behaviour.

ChapterThree2019                    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 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.

CurriculumUnitThree2019       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) and GCE topic 3 (underlying assumptions and power dynamics) by examining Finland: the reasons why citizens report higher levels of happiness and well-being, and the role of schooling in fostering these.

ChapterFour2019      Knowledge

What constitutes powerful geographical knowledge? This chapter seeks to answer this question by outlining the philosophies of knowledge that underpin modern and postmodern school geography. It makes the case for introducing students to dialectical and critical ways of understanding the world and suggests that critical realism should guide curriculum making so that they can relate everyday experience to underlying structures, processes and events. Reference is made to debates on powerful disciplinary knowledge and the GeoCapabilities Project.

CurriculumUnitFour       Homelessness: causes and solutions

Making curriculum underpineed by critical realism is illustrated by this unit which enables students to examine myths surrounding homelessness, pathways into homelessness, and its links with housing policy and the housing crisis.  SDG 11 sustainable cities and communities, and GCE topic 6 difference and respect for diversity.

ChapterFive2019                Critical Pedagogy

This chapter outlines the characteristics of critical pedagogy and its several approaches based on different critical theories. It then explores the links between critical pedagogy, inquiry based learning and the development of critical thinking. The focus then shifts to the changing nature of capitalism and work shaped by the rise of digital technology. These changes further challenge the ideology of work and schooling and point to post-work futures based on universal basic income and services. The need for trade unions to adapt to new realities in order to appeal to young workers is a theme of the chapter and related curriculum unit.

CurriculumUnitFive2019               The Future of Work

Curriculum unit five focuses on SDG 8, decent work and economic growth and GCE topic 9 getting engaged and taking action. It examines the role of trade unions in improving the quality of members’ jobs; the issues faced by young workers on average or below average pay; the future of work in the digital economy, regulation of the gig economy; and the policies unions and others might pursue to realise sustainable futures beyond work. The focus is on Europe and the UK with reference to relevant legislation on workers’ right

ChapterSix                            Nature

Teaching geogaphy in the anthropocene requires the integration of physical and human geography and the exploration of critical ideas about nature, sustainability, and the greening of capitalism and socialism.  This chapater links such exploration to the development of sustainability citizenship through the application of ecopedagogy

Curriculum Unit Six                   Urban farming in Nairobi, Chicago and Bristol

Students engage with discourses of hunger, SDG 2 zero hunger and GCE topic 2 issues affection interaction and connectedness of communities at local, national and global levels, as that compare the solutions to hunger offered by the corporate global food system to those offered by locally based urban farms.

Future chapters are likely to cover space, place and citizenship.

Chapter seven  is likely to appear here during December 2019. .


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