The Young People’s Geographies (YPG) project was a five year (2006-11) curriculum development and research programme investigating how school students and teachers working together can effectively develop the school geography curriculum and students’ geographical learning.
The project was funded by the Department for Education and Science (DfES)/Department for Communities, Schools and Families (DCSF), both forerunners of the Department for Education (DfE). It also received funding from The Academy for Sustainable Communities during its first two years. YPG ran as part of the Action Plan for Geography.
Project activities and achievements
YPG was about making school geography more exciting and relevant to students by involving them in curriculum making and by focusing on their own lived geographies. Young people have their own distinct geographies, often very different to those of adults, and the YPG team investigated whether the learning process was richer for students if these geographies were taken into account.
At the heart of the project was the idea of conversation. These changes required teachers and students talk to each other. A big part of the first phase of the project was about establishing those conversations, and the was a key ingredient for keeping those conversations going throughout the next phase.
A key element of the YPG project was the way it crossed boundaries between academic and school geography. By working together, academics, teacher trainers, school teachers and students explored ways in which academic ideas can effectively develop the school geography curriculum and students’ geographical learning.
Launched in October 2008, the YPG website (now no longer active) looked at practical ways in which young people and their geographies can support the ongoing process of curriculum making in school.
As conversation was central to the YPG ethos, it featured a section all about how students and teachers can talk and work together. It also contained activity ideas including film making, map making, photo collages and a video diary room to find out what students really think about geography.
The site also featured a ‘My YPG’ area containing blogs and forums where teachers and students talked about their experiences of school geography and/or the YPG project.