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Uneven Development Teacher Reflection

Thoughts on the project

I feel that geography did ‘happen’ in many of these lessons. We were able to focus on the geographical learning and mental processes rather than the ‘production’ of, for example, a poster or project. This helped increase the pace of learning and challenge of lessons.

Lesson planning became very interesting as I tried to plan the appropriate ‘next step’ for students rather than simply teach the next thing on a scheme of work. I found that we were not labouring points but rather moving on with our thinking and the ongoing dialogue with students provided evidence of progression in understanding and also helped me tailor lessons to their needs.

I feel that students developed clearer conceptual understanding and spent lessons immersed in geographical thinking (or at least most did, much of the time…). They developed understanding of related concepts like space, diversity and interdependence. Knowledge of place also improved as students researched real lives, images and examples. Oral, written and ICT skills were frequently employed and many students were able to relate the geography to their own lives and values.

Progress in understanding of uneven development

From this… To this…
It is about differences and inequality
Unfairness between people and places
Wealth and poverty
East and West differences
North and South differences
Get better/worse
Values evident: ‘It is wrong and must change’
Describes differences and disparity and diversity
A process of change
Unfairness between people and places
Wealth and poverty
Social, economic and environmental
Uneven allocation of resources
Different access to services and opportunities
Different scales (local to global) and internal
Linked to ‘us’/moral aspects
Values developed and expressed
Change over time and from place to place
Get better/worse
Internal differences
Importance of emerging economies
Importance of globalisation

Some reflections

  • I tried a learning log in which students recorded key questions and thoughts, but it proved time consuming and not a learning activity. It sounded a good idea but did not contribute to geographical learning.
  • Starting the unit by establishing ‘where they were at?’ and what they needed to know helped plan useful and relevant lessons and a personalised curriculum.
  • Sometime students lack the language to express their understanding fully and unintentionally make sweeping statements. It was sometimes necessary to ‘overlook’ or accept simplifications in deference to their age and experience. Uneven development is a concept to be revisited.
  • Dialogue, listening and video and voice recording proved invaluable and supported constant feedback to students.
  • ‘Leftovers’ activities when students are asked to relate what they remember of a lesson; and ‘Post-its to Mrs C’ with student questions and comments were very effective progress checks and dialogues.
  • Students kept a portfolio folder of work rather than an exercise book allowing a greater range of learning tasks.
  • Student involvement was hugely motivating.
  • Students love to record themselves! And like to take responsibility like lesson observation.
  • Resources are key.
  • The focus on progression allowed me to plan with assessment in mind.
  • Feedback that was personalised and more than just a grade or mark was well received and motivating.

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