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Curriculum and curriculum planning

The distinction between curriculum and pedagogy can become blurred but they are not the same. Curriculum specifies what society and schools believe is important to teach young people and pedagogy is how this is made available to them.

There is a Geography National Curriculum for England but it does not specify the details of exactly what has to be taught or how it should be taught. It provides a ‘framework’. The curriculum has to be made locally. Teachers select what to teach to their students which is why curriculum planning and curriculum making are a very important part of a teacher’s role.

Teachers make the decisions about the geography to teach in secondary schools. The school’s curriculum rationale (referred to as the ‘intent’ by Ofsted) is particularly important. It will be guided by the statement of purpose and aims of the National Curriculum and the examination specifications, but it should articulate a clear understanding of what teachers want students to aspire to and how they will achieve it.

Teachers should create a worthwhile and relevant school geography experience for students based on this rationale that sets out how they will teach the geography and the resources they will use. Through careful curriculum design, each form of geographical knowledge should be considered, so that students build their understanding and develop secure geographical thinking. This is what geography curriculum planning is all about.

Refer to Subject and Curriculum (Standard 3 – Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge).

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