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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Simples: The easiest lesson in the world

Sometimes, technology is a great thing, but other times, the best lesson comes from a simpler approach. Last week, we were teaching about rural change, particularly depopulation and repopulation. The lesson started with every student having a small pink piece of paper on their desk. We posed the question at the outset of the period - 'Where will you be in ten years time?'.
The response had to be anonymous and had to include a physical location and a little about life, especially careers. The replies were incredibly illuminating and sometimes, a whole life map was unfolding- precise career destinations such as marine biologists, RSAMD trained singers and taking on family businesses amongst others. The really interesting geographical pattern was the desire of many to get out of the small town. We spent some time discussing the reasons and then applied the same principles to rural villages - boredom, lack of jobs, few services (and some which had closed) etc. Depopulation covered.
From taking this trend, I suggested that, based on preferred locations expressed, Glasgow should be rapidly expanding (agreed across the class). Yet, it isn't. In fact, I ventured, there is a trend in the opposite direction. We took Troon, our location, as an example. When I asked the class to describe a typical resident of the town, the immediate reply was 'old'. We tried to explore the appeal- quieter, more quaint, a little more money in the bank from retirement etc. The next most common reply was families with kids. Again, the reasons flowed- better quality of life, less crime, less noise and so on. Apply to rural village and add the vital ingredient: jobs. Almost all of the students in ten years see themselves in high flying, high earning positions. It was agreed that Troon, despite its attractions, is not a cheap place to live. So, now we had the perfect profile for the new rural residents, retirees with money, well salaried professionals with families. The classes are now working on mock Facebook profiles of rural to urban and urban to rural migrants, the nearest to technology the lesson took us. Easy to manage, powerful messages, students leading their own learning. As the title says, simples.

Posted via email from Mr O'D's class posterous


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