NSW Draft Geography Syllabus – personal reflections

Hi all,
Here are my personal reflections on the Draft Syllabus – submitted to BOSTES. Would be interesting to see other personal reflections if you have had a chance to have a look.
The second paragraph states “Geography emphasizes the role of the environment in supporting human life from local to global scales….” A couple of comments here:
The environment does support (and impact on) humans, however, there is no direct mention of how humans support (and impact on) the environment. Should the latter point be specifically mentioned? Though an extrapolation of the later section of the sentence on interrelationship implies this is possible.

There is an appropriate distribution and sequencing of key terms from Stage 4- Stage 5.

Stage Statements:
Throughout the Outcomes there are terms like describe and select though in the Stage 4 statements there seem to be dominated by higher order terms such as explain and examine. For example perhaps the first sentence could read “describe geographical processes” and then build to the higher order terms.

Covering the four topics for each stage is achievable and logically progress from Stage 4 to Stage 5. Personally I like the option of virtually fieldwork, though I do acknowledge that it could be used as an argument in some schools to not have fieldwork excursions.

Geographical Inquiry:
My only comment here concerns what might be missing. Maybe in the domain of ‘inquiry’ the following idea might be relevant. Through the inquiry process the students may be motivated into some sort of action to help or improve the geographical world – perhaps point four could be a statement on doing something with the acquired, processed and communicated geographical information eg. Geographical Action.

Specific Content Outline:
The description of concepts, tools and skills is very clear. Just a specific comment on tools – endorse the broadening to spatial technologies (as long as it is viewed as more than just hardware and software i.e.: including web tools) and the additional of visual representation instead of just pictures.
Within each topic the Outcomes the topic descriptions, key inquiry questions, concepts skills and tools are clearly portrayed.

As for the content outlines:
• I did not interpret that they had to be covered in the order presented though I believe some may believe this to be the case. Is it possible to have a sentence clarifying this point at an earlier stage?
• Is it possible to clearly identify each of the subheadings above the bullet points in each of the Stage defined topics?
• Is there an expectation that all the bullet points are to be covered? If this is the case then the document bullet points are fine as they are.
• If there can be flexibility in the coverage of the bullet points could there be either:
o An overarching statement earlier in the document stating there is flexibility in the number of bullet points covered provided all the outcomes are assessed.
o A statement after the heading “Students…” which reflects the notion of ‘such as’ or something like this.
I like the geographical content which we are required to examine as it is interesting, relevant and has a good mixture of breadth and depth.

Year’s 7-10 Life Skills outcomes and content:
Like and not really in a position to comment

Continuum of Learning K-10:
This displays an appropriate mix of key terms and content which is sequenced in a logical manner.
cheers Martin

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