Narratives in geography

Guest blogger Alison Schofield (@alisongeog) discusses how using narratives in geography lessons has supported GCSE improvements.

I have been teaching geography now for over 20 years and I love the geography community that exists in social media who are always sharing their ideas and resources so I thought I would share how I have used narratives in my teaching at GCSE as one technique.

All my GCSE groups are taught in mixed ability with target ranges from 1-9 which does hold challenges when trying to incorporate knowledge and understanding of the places and concepts we teach. It became apparent to me that the way my department and I were teaching was not working for all and I had to go back to the drawing board.




I decided that I would focus on one topic and create a story about a boy who lives in the Favelas in Rio. I used a Simpson’s character who lives in Brazil and used him to tell the story of his life and those around him. We investigated why he lived there, what his life was like and why. Below is one of the slides I used.

Narratives in geography
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Narratives in geography – example 1

By using him to tell a story every single lesson the knowledge and understanding started to stick. Answers were given verbally and in written format actually stared to reference the case study. Students who struggled to get 1 mark in a 9 mark question retold the story enabling higher achievements. More importantly, it made the teaching and learning fun again, something that had been somewhat missing after the new specification changes.

Below is another example I have used.

Narratives in geography example 2
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Narratives in geography – example 2

I am happy to say that making little changes like these have meant that my department has seen an increase of nearly 20% in attainment from last year’s GCSE results, so I will continue with my storytelling.

 

Alison Schofield
@alisongeog

August 2019

Internet Geography is offering a platform for guest bloggers for this academic year. Got a teaching strategy, interest or anything geographical you’d like to share? Please contact us. We’re unable to offer a financial award but we’ll send you a little treat in the post.

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