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So you want to teach geography

“You can travel the seas, poles and deserts, and see nothing. To really understand the world, you need to get under the skin of the people and places. In other words, learn about geography. I can’t imagine a subject more relevant in schools. We’d all be lost without it…Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future”

Michael Palin at the launch of the DfES’s Action Plan for Geography, March 2006

Topics on this page:

Why teach geography? | What is school geography like? | What makes a good geography lesson? | How much fieldwork is done in schools?

Why teach geography?

Do you have a love of the subject and want to enthuse young people about geography and the world today? Do you want to help them explore their own and different places and understand how people influence human and physical environments? If your answer is ‘yes’, then geography teaching could be the career for you. Watch the video below and think about the questions it asks.

What is school geography like?

You will remember geography lessons when you were at school and what inspired you to study the subject. School geography is a dynamic and engaging subject that is growing in popularity, with increasing numbers taking geography GCSE.

  • Read this Summary of Geography in schools to find out what pupils learn in geography lessons today.
  • Look at the GA’s Manifesto for geography, which sets out the case for geography in the school curriculum. It emphasises the value of thinking geographically, the changing role of fieldwork and the importance of a subject that values young people’s experiences and curiosity, helps them to discover the world and understand alternative futures.
  • Watch this video about the Geography National Curriculum, which gives information about the 2014 geography curriculum and how the GA supports teachers.

What makes a good geography lesson?

How much fieldwork is done in schools?

Fieldwork is essential for GCSE and A level courses and is a National Curriculum requirement for both primary and secondary pupils. In the best secondary schools there are programmes to develop fieldwork skills with residential fieldwork for older pupils. 

In primary schools there will often be out-of-school visits in the local area or further afield and these might combine various subjects. To find out more about fieldwork in schools today, explore the GA fieldwork pages.