A practical approach to GCSE Geography

From September this year many teachers will start teaching the reformed Geography GCSE.

Students must be offered 'different approaches to fieldwork undertaken in at least two contrasting environments'. The changes also signify an end to controlled assessment, and fieldwork will instead be assessed through examination questions in the following areas:

  • questions capable of being investigated through fieldwork and appropriate geographical enquiry, range of techniques and methods used
  • processing and presenting fieldwork data
  • analysing and explaining data collected in the field
  • drawing evidenced conclusions and summaries reflecting critically on fieldwork

It's important to note, however, that fieldwork isn't just about preparing students for exams. As the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom puts it, 'Real-world learning brings the benefits of formal and informal education together and reinforces what good educationalists have always known; that the most meaningful learning occurs through acquiring knowledge and skills through real-life, practical or hands-on activities.'

Studying with PGL.

PGL Study Courses are available at Little Canada on the Isle of Wight and at Osmington Bay on the Jurassic Coast, both great locations for students studying Geography at GCSE. Each location offers the opportunity to study a choice of popular, curriculum-linked subjects such as Rivers and Fluvial Systems, Tourism Investigation, Urban Settlements and Coastal Processes and Features.

First-hand experience.

Thomas Grime, PGL Study Course Team Leader has lasting memories of field trips taken as part of his degree course:

"For me, no amount of subject reading can ever beat a day out looking at some of the formations that make up the landscape.

I studied for a Geography BSc degree at Bangor University in North Wales and we regularly made use of the Snowdonia mountain range and Anglesey's coastal features to further our understanding.

Our Physical Geography lecturer firmly believed in the benefits of hands-on experience and would have us out on every possible occasion to see at first-hand what we had been learning about back in college.

On one occasion we headed out to the west coast of Anglesey to look at beach processes and local geology, taking with us disposable BBQs and sausages! Whilst we walked along the beach and later cooked our sausages, our lecturer took every opportunity to point out the features and processes that he had been endeavouring to explain to us during the lectures. It was much easier to grasp when you could see the evidence in front of you, and whether it was the stunning location, gorgeous weather or burnt sausages, that trip and others like it, firmly cemented my understanding of beach processes!"

Although it may not involve BBQs and burnt sausages, a PGL Study Course does provide a fun environment for learning and fieldwork in unique locations.

Find out more about PGL Geography courses for GCSE.

by PGL Travel.