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You are here: Home Our Work Articles and publications Making use of learning from Bangalore- Primary Geography Article Spring 2015.

Making use of learning from Bangalore- Primary Geography Article Spring 2015.

Three PGCE students took part in an educational visit to Sangam, near Bangalore in India, in order to experience learning in a distant place. HereRohan and Katherine  reflect  on how they applied the  learning to their geography teaching; but first their tutor,  Tessa, outlines her involvement in the  visit.

Introduction (Tessa Willy, Tutor)Making use of learning from Bangalore- Primary Geographer Article Spring 2015.

In 2013  the DfE increased  the number  of days that  student teachers are required to spend  in school during their teacher training. The DfE states  that  providers can use ten of these  days as an ‘alternative placement’.  The idea behind  this is for students to gain additional  experience  in, for example, PRUs, secondary  schools, special schools or children’s centres. Student  teachers  were able to choose where  to spend  this time as long as the National Curriculum was being taught in some form or other.

Having spent  a fascinating  ten days at Sangam,  which is an educational centre just on the outskirts of India’s fastest- growing  city, Bangalore, I looked into running  a two-week school experience  for our Primary PGCE students. (Sangam is also the centre  used by Helen Martin and Ruth Potts (2014) as the stimulus for their Primary Geography article ‘Enquiring minds and unique  places’). The response  to our invitation to join the trip was staggering: six times the number  of students applied than we had places for, and all of their applications  were excellent, therefore the 12 participants  were identified by lottery. We then  spent  three  months  preparing for the visit, keeping  uppermost in our minds the importance of the trip’s benefit for everyone involved in the process – both in the UK and India. I was familiar with Scoffham and Barnes’ work in this area; they describe such trips as being: ‘a powerful  learning experience  which transformed students’  thinking by creating dissonance  on a cognitive, emotional and existential level... by a model of transformational learning which highlights personal  growth  and development’ (Scoffham and Barnes, 2009).

Some of the PGCE students had received primary geography input during the course, and three  were geography specialists who understood the importance of considering both  differences  and similarities when  immersing their pupils in a distant  place study. The other  students soon came to the same conclusion, demonstrating an appreciation  of this facet when  sharing challenges  with the teachers in Indian schools, for example, teaching pupils with English as an additional language. We were impressed  by the high levels of aspiration  demonstrated by the pupils in India, which tended to be not for material possessions or celebrity but for working in professions that  would contribute positively to their environment and society. Below, Leanne, Rohan and Katherine outline the outcomes from their work with pupils in the UK and India. This fedinto a piece of action research,  which was one of their PGCE assignments. These are informative and transferable, and will form the building blocks for work that  these students carry out with pupils for years to come.

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