Geography helps young people to make sense of the world that they live in and to be better informed about the choices they face as global citizens. Geography provides the knowledge and skills needed to ask and answer pertinent global learning questions such as: where is this place, and what is it like? How is it changing, and why? How is it connected to other places? Who gets what, where, when and why? And what’s it got to do with me?
Many aspects of global learning are at the heart of what it means to be a geographically educated young person in the 21st century, including providing a range of challenging contexts for developing geographical thought. Ofsted guidance recognises this link between global learning and high standards in geography.
Through geography, pupils learn where places are, what they are like, how and why they are changing. Pupils learn about how places, people and environments interact, and how everyday lives are both reliant on, and affected by, people and places far away. Geography helps pupils understand what important concepts and ideas such as developing countries and development, globalisation, poverty and development, interdependence and sustainable development mean.
Through geography, pupils learn about uneven development at different scales, and learn that inequalities exist within as well as between other countries, the former sometimes being as pronounced as patterns of inequality at the global scale, according to the UN. Such critical thinking also helps combat stereotypical views about countries.
Geography builds knowledge by drawing together different sets of information so that pupils can understand for example, how climate, location, technology and food production are linked, or how globalisation impacts on people and culture as well as on the environment and the economy.
Global learning is well supported by skills used in geography, which is underpinned by an enquiry and critical thinking approach. Learners develop research, communication and interpretation skills to help them ask questions, gather data and evaluate diverse information. They develop empathy, for example to better reflect on what is similar and different in others' lives. The geography-specific skills of mapping, the wider skill set of graphicacy, and fieldwork are also essential for learners to locate and better understand places, environments, and patterns and processes: all vital skills for global learning.
Geography supports the development of informed views and values about and towards people, places and environments. Through geography, pupils explore not just 'core' knowledge about the world but also encounter a range of information about people, places and cultures. Avoiding the 'single story' helps to challenge stereotypical thinking and develops understanding of diversity.
More support and information can be found in the introduction to geography and global learning.
There is much support for geography teachers available through the GLP. We recommend that you also draw on programmes and additional support, guidance and resources from the Geographical Association and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) respectively.
Through the GLP the: