Geographers shown the way to the classroom

January 4, 2002

Geography departments are being urged to join a national scheme promoting a teaching career to their students in a bid to combat dwindling higher education intakes.

The Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers, which is currently holding its annual conference at Queen's University, Belfast, is spearheading the "Geographers Into Teaching" campaign with backing from the Teacher Training Agency.

Felicity Thorne, RGS-IBG project development officer, said there was a shortage of secondary school geography teachers, which had a knock-on effect for higher education applications.

Following the first round of the scheme last year, the TTA found recruitment had risen by 5 per cent to 87 per cent of its target, Ms Thorne said.

"We would like to think numbers are up because of the project since geography isn't entitled to golden hellos, unlike some other teacher shortage areas," she said.

The RGS-IBG is seeking bids for grants of up to £3,000 for projects to begin in March. Ms Thorne is using the conference to suggest initiatives, from forging links with local teacher education institutions to encouraging educated-related dissertations.

Klaus Dodds, of the Royal Holloway geography department, outlined the department's tutoring project, which gives second-year students experience as classroom assistants. "It's not only the fact that there are problems recruiting geography teachers, the major problem has been to get students to do geography full stop," he said.

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