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Why Teach Geography? Inspiring in Pupils A Curiosity and Fascinations About The World Rss

Posted on: January 6th 2020

Now more than ever, there is a considerable pressure to ensure Humanities is being taught in schools by inspired geographers and historians keeping up-to-date with their remit. Considering its relevance in the current socio-political climate, young people are experiencing today, ensuring that teachers are engaging their students with enriching educational experiences, is a key factor in the delivery of humanities across schools.

Westminster Harris 167Young activists such as Greta Thunberg have been a major influence on the growing youth consciousness in environmental crises. Schools everywhere have seen the rise of ‘eco-groups’ and ‘environmental day’ initiatives to improve school wide carbon footprints.

Sustainability, Environmental awareness and Globalisation are just a few of the major subject areas covered in Secondary Geography. The National Curriculum in England sets the vision and purpose of geography study as:

‘A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the framework and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.’

You can find details of the Geography Programmes of Study at

Westminster Harris 048In May 2019, Harris Federation declared a Climate Emergency Initiative, led by concerned students at many of our academies in response to the national news. With the influx of greater general awareness, initiatives and active environmental groups, it is difficult to know where to start or how to help. Geography teachers have been instrumental in overseeing and supporting student consciousness during this time. Since declaring the initiative in May, two delegates from every secondary academy took part in a Climate Emergency Conference held at Harris Academy St. John’s Wood. Students were given the opportunity to workshop initiative ideas, debate and work on eco plans for their individual academies. Many students have been able to rise up and find Geography inspiring, developing a fascination about the world because of their teachers, actively supporting school wide eco consciousness.

 Apart from the great satisfaction of inspiring young people, Geography provides a great number of teachers with diverse backgrounds, the opportunity to excel in a dynamic subject area. We sat down with Rohit Rao, Geography Teacher and Head of House at Harris Westminster Sixth Form, to talk about his role as Geography Teacher.

Why did you choose to go into Geography?

I really enjoy it – it is considerably varied and always challenging me to continue reading and researching. My students ask really tough questions and it pushes to me to continue to go out and learn more to be able to give my students an enriching lesson on geography subject matter. I get to geek out with students about really niches areas of Geography which I value very much. I am becoming more aware of the growing interest of geography and humanities as a whole amongst students and have really enjoyed cultivating super interesting lessons to facilitate this. It is for this reason that I grow to love what I do more and more every day. I absolutely love it!

Tell us a bit more about your Harris Journey?

I taught abroad for a number of years and didn’t have intentions of returning to the UK unless I found the perfect teaching job that allowed me flexibility in my teaching style and challenged me to be the best teacher I could be. One of my friends had recommended Harris Federation to me, putting me in touch with Harris Westminster Sixth Form.

 It’s my third year at Harris Westminster Sixth Form, working my first year as a Geography Teacher before taking on a pastoral role as Head of House and it is currently my second year in this role. I have been really lucky to have students even return during University breaks to visit, often thanking me for support in their applications and as a Head of House.

Why Geography?

It’s definitely about that moment where something clicks in a student’s head and it all starts to make sense to them. Every lesson pushes students to explore the world around them and outside of them. I, myself, am a keen Geographer and really enjoy being able to share my passion with my students. Each lesson is different from the rest, and the dedicated faculty team at Harris Westminster has really supported me through my journey here, to ensure I am always bringing the best of Geography to my students. The variation in geography study is unlike other subjects in the sense that, you are able to cross over into science, sociology, politics and bring references in from other subject areas to help explain links geographically.

Within the Federation, there are a 6 Geography specialists that we collaborate with and can ask help from. It’s great that geography teachers can call on Federation wide specialists in the subject area for any help or support in our teaching and development. We collaborate on a number of events and lectures to bring students the best learning experience possible, with speakers coming in from far and wide to talk about anything from volcanology to trade and migration!

Any final thoughts for aspiring geography teachers?

It’s a very diverse and challenging role. You have the opportunity help students explore interesting facets of human life in a socio-geographical sense, with a healthy dose of economics, history and science. I would always say to never be afraid to push the boat out and  I think what really enhancing my teaching experience of Geography is the sheer support behind the subject and being surrounded by such a great faculty team. No day is ever the same at Harris Westminster Sixth Form and I have been able to really inspire and be inspired by the students I come across at this school.




Want to learn more about Geography opportunities at Harris? View them here!

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