Geography teaches an understanding of places and environments. Through their work in geography, Student’s at St. Joseph’s learn about their local area and compare their life in this area with that in other regions in Ireland and in the rest of the world. They learn how to draw and interpret maps and they develop the skills of research, investigation, analysis and problem solving. Through their growing knowledge and understanding of human geography, children gain an appreciation of life in other cultures. Geography teaching also motivates children to find out about the physical world and enables them to recognize the importance of sustainable development for the future of mankind.
The aims of Geography are:
- To enable children to gain knowledge and understanding of places in the world;
- To increase children’s knowledge of other cultures and, in doing so, teach a respect and understanding of what it means to be a positive citizen in a multi-cultural country;
- To allow students to learn graphic skills, including how to use, draw and interpret maps;
- To enable them to know and understand environmental problems at a local , regional and global level;
- To encourage in students a commitment to sustainable development and an appreciation of what ‘global citizenship’ means;
- To develop a variety of other skills, including those of enquiry, problem solving, ICT, investigation and how to present their conclusions in the most appropriate way.
Teaching and Learning
We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our geography lessons. While cognitive learning will assist students to gain the information required to perform in exams, and receive all important points, explorative learning will have a different effect. This Socratic approach is most important in laying the foundations for a love of the subject. This will ensure its development and continuation in the future. We believe in whole-class teaching methods and we combine these with enquiry-based research activities. We encourage children to ask as well as answer geographical questions. We offer them the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as maps, statistics, graphs, pictures and aerial photographs, and we enable them to use IT in geography lessons where this serves to enhance their learning. Children take part in role-play and discussions, and they present reports to the rest of the class. They engage in a wide variety of problem-solving activities. Wherever possible, we involve the children in ’real’ geographical activities, e.g. research of a local environmental problem or use of the Internet to investigate a current issue.
We recognise the fact that there are children of widely different geographical abilities in all classes and we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this by:
- Setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses;
- Setting tasks of increasing difficulty , some children not completing all tasks;
- We provide different levels of work for the differing needs of children.
- Providing resources of different complexity according to the ability of the child;
- Using classroom assistants where available to support the work of individual children or groups of children.
Our aim is to approach geography in a way which is not only of interest to students, but from which they learn and fulfil all, the requirements of both senior and junior cycles. We aim to instil in students a curiosity and desire to learn about their local, national and international environment, and encompass all geographical learning experiences along the way and inspire them to continue their study of geography.