Sunday, March 1, 2015

What do you really really think?

Image above: Mapping terror.

Related sites to Humsteach blog
Australian Curriculum Portal
DECD Learning Resources for Australian Curriculum
DECD Achievement Standards Charts 
Australian Geography Teachers' Association website

Geography Teachers Association of South Australia
History Teachers Association of South Australia
History Teachers Association of Australia 

* Assessment lecture 3/3/15

You think what?

"A curriculum is not value-free, as values and attitudes cannot be divorced from content."

The Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Geography January 2011

HASS subjects and their teaching is not value free. It is almost impossible not to be political in some way when discussing HASS topics.

As Robert Butler was quoted as saying in the Economist in 2010:

“It is getting harder and harder in conversation to raise one or other of the most basic subjects in geography—agriculture, glaciation, rivers and population—without a flicker of panic crossing the other person’s face. You are no longer talking about a neutral subject.”

HASS has the potential to be relevant, dynamic and challenging for students in the classroom through providing the opportunity to develop a political frame around what is taught. How can we teach about water, population, migration and climate change for example without challenging students to place the discussion in a political context – that is, what do you believe is right and what are the justice and ethical beliefs that guide ones opinion on an issue.

Here are two excellent classroom polling tools to have a look at and use in our tutorial

* Straw Poll

  • Click on the URL's below and select your response.  
* Did you like geography at school?

* What did you like about geography?

* Familiarity with the Australian Curriculum: Geography

* Engagement potential of the Australian Curriculum: Geography  

* Content amount in the Australian Curriculum: Geography

* Geographical concepts in the Australian Curriculum: Geography

* Skills to start working on to teach the Australian Curriculum: Geography

* Poll everywhere

A digital tool that is a wonderful way to get students involved (all students, not just the vocal and uninhibited) in discussion of a contestable nature is Poll Everywhere. The brilliant aspect of this program is that it is easy to use, is anonymous and inclusive of all, can be used and developed in real time in the classroom and provides instant feedback (graphs, word walls etc). The program gives all students a voice so that they can express their opinion without ridicule or embarrassment. The resulting graphs and graphics provide data for class research and discussion and can be archived for comparison over time presentations. As a tool it is a great interactive way to involve the geography class in some high order thinking and discussion.
The brief video on the Poll Everywhere Home page gives an introduction to this free digital tool which can be used not only in the geography classroom but also with teachers in their professional learning in geography. Here is a Poll Everywhere document I recently used with a group of teachers working on the concepts in history and geography. All they had to do was type the URL and start submitting their response to the questions in the document by using the codes (each code is unique and can be used only once specifically for the question - called a poll) generated by the teacher/facilitator of the question. Poll Everywhere is a great way to get discussion started in any gathering.  It is certainly worth the 30 minutes to get acquainted with the tool and make the learning more interactive for participants and create some inclusive and comprehensive data for contestable discussions.

Use either Straw Poll or Poll everywhere to answer the following questions re: HASS 

  • What subject of HASS do you like best?
  • Did you like Society and Environment at school?
  • Are you looking forward to teaching HASS?
  • Why do we study HASS?
  • Do you enjoy discussing issues?
  • Can you list some HASS issues?
  • Is there any one issue that really interests/enthuses you?
  • Do you have any concerns about this class and how you may proceed/succeed?
  • Do you have any questions re: HASS before we continue?

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