Geography has never been more important than it is now. Humans have never been more networked, and we have never known as much about the natural world, its biodiversity, its chemistry, the flows of its energy that we capture and put to work and the consequences of our actions on a dynamic biosphere. The linking of these things is the essence of geography. Three core concepts - globalisation, sustainability and equality - sit at the heart of 21st century geography. This is true regardless of whether it is focused on the physical processes of the natural environment or the less predictable complexity of human lives, states, wars and trade.
The great challenges of the 21st century are geographical in their formulation, analysis and consequence, and they transecend the physical/social divide.
Lee, C. and Dorling, D. 'Geography’s place in the world', Times Higher Education (2016)
Modern Geography acts as an academic "bridge" between the human and physical. For budding scientists it's a chance to identify the impact of scientific processes on societies. For those interested in individuals and societies it provides an opportunity to develop an appreciation of the often scientific processes which are behind the changes we see on the planet. The focus is 'joined-up' thinking - understanding processes of the past, the conditions of the present and the potential challenges of the future enabling students to make sense of their world and providing students with the skills and knowledge they need to enter an environment and society changing quicker than ever before.
In Year 7 and Year 8 we encourage all our students to actively engage in the process of geography. Fostering a real sense of geographical enquiry is key. Year 7 topics include 'Biodiversity under threat?' 'Africa - Challenges and Opportunities' and 'Disasters and Risky places.' Year 8 topics include 'The geography of Russia - curse or benefit?', 'Issues in the Ocean' and 'Why is the Middle East an important world region?'. And there's a bonus – Geography is a practical subject through which students learn a range of transferable skills including data handling, extended writing and digital mapping.
In Years 9, 10 and 11, pupils are equipped 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. Y9 topics include 'Global Climate Change', 'Changing China', 'Global Inequalities' and 'Extreme Environments'. At IGCSE level, geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the framework and approaches that brings together physical geography and human geography with people-environement processes and interactions. Key topics are 'Globalisation and migration', 'Economic activity and Energy', 'Urban Environments' and 'Coastal Environments'. Geographical skills, fieldworks enquiry skills and transferable skills are integral to the course. The 'Middle School Geographical Skills Certificate' enhances beyond the syllabus, extended writing, ICT, digital mapping, decision-making, data handling, graphicacy, statistics and multimedia presentation skills. Y10 geographers have the opportunity of a six day Awe and Wonder residential trip to Iceland.
The IB Geography course integrates both physical and human geography, and ensures that students acquire elements of both scientific and socio-economic methodologies. There is focus on the study of superpowers and development, as students study future patterns of global power and poverty, as well as the sovereign rights of states and the human rights of those who live under various different political structures. Increased media awareness and the exacerbated impacts of capitalism driven globalisation are investigated as a major driver of changing economic and socio-cultural changes. Increased migration, cultural exchange and the growing power of Trans-National companies are all factors which are pertinent in explaining the major global geopolitical and socio-economic changes we are experiencing today, and all will shape future characteristics of societies and environments in the future. The physical roots of the subject are not forgotten - the physical processes which influence our planet are studied - all human activity takes place in the context of our physical environment; it is the provider of the resources which fuel our economy and the development of nations (which in itself provides huge future challenges in the form of climatic change and environmental degradation and the services which keep our planet functioning efficiently. Both HL and SL students carry out an one practical fieldwork enquiry which will involve data collection, presentation and analysis. All students acquire a range of skills: extended writing, mapping, graphics, statistics, data research, processing and interpretation and application of ICT. L6 geographers have the opportunity of a 10 day Awe and Wonder residential trip to Morocco.
Geography future proofs a student both academically and for future employment.
Geography is, in the broadest sense, an education for life and living. Geography is a cutting edge, boundary-pushing subject which has become fundamental for shaping students. Studying Geography today truly future proofs a student, both academically and for future employment, with the demands for an understanding of the ever changing world and to ensure they are ready for the world they will face after education.
Head of Department: Mr Paul Thompsonprt@sevenoaksschool.org