Top 10 Books for a PGCE in Secondary Geography

While sorting things out over the weekend I came across some of the books that helped me through my PGCE all those years ago. This spurred me to think about which books had been the most helpful, and which ones I would recommend to students just starting their PGCE. This list is a combination of books I found helpful during the course and books I have encountered since:

1) Secondary Geography Handbook – David Balderstone

A good comprehensive overview of some of the key issues in geography and approaches used by teachers in the classroom, ranging from ‘What is the point of learning Geography?’ (A question I have frequently been asked, inside and outside school) to ‘Understanding ‘distant places’.

2) Teaching Geography 11-18: A Conceptual Approach – David Lambert and John Morgan

I came across this book when attending the AAG (American Association of Geographers) Annual Conference in 2009 where the authors held sessions surrounding the issues covered in the book. The book examines the nature of geography in schools examining changes that have occurred and considering new developments. Furthermore, they discusses some of the key concepts of geography more generally: place, scale, interdependence, development, sustainability and others, considering how they fit into geography teaching. While this is not a book about how to teach geography as such, it s a great book to stimulate reflexive thoughts about how geography should be approached in the classroom.

3) Learning to Teach Geography in the Secondary School: A Companion to the School Experience – David Lambert and David Balderstone

Comprehensive practical guide to classroom teaching in geography, with general teaching advice but also subject specific guidance.
4) Learning Through Enquiry: Making sense of Geography in the Key Stage 3 Classroom – Margaret Roberts

Using a range of examples, this book examines how the use of enquiry in teaching geography offers stimulus to a deeper level of student thinking.
5) Learning to Teach in the Secondary School: A Companion to School Experience – Susan Capel, Marilyn Leask and Tony Turner

This is quite a good companion to the Learning to Teach Geography in Secondary schools mentioned above. It provides a range of guidance for a variety of aspects of teaching from classroom management to lesson planning.

6) Reflective Practice in Teaching Geography – Ashley Kent

A great book which includes a wealth of articles from a range of teachers and academics organised in three sections: Progress in Geography: Changing Viewpoints, The Geography Curriculum: Development and Planning, Research and Geography Teaching: Case Studies of How and Why Research Matters. It encourages a critical understanding of literature and concepts in geography as well as providing professionally relevant knowledge, understanding, skills and values.
7) Teaching Secondary Geography as if the Planet Matters – John Morgan

A very recent publication (July 2011) which looks at how Geography teachers can develop approaches to curriculum, and learning strategies which can help students understand the nature of the contemporary world. It encourages teachers to examine existing approaches to teaching and draw upon the insights of geography as a discipline to deepen students’ understanding topics such as ‘urban futures’, ‘climate change’, ‘geographies of food’ and the ‘geographies of the credit crunch’.

8) A-Z Advancing Geography Fieldwork – David Holmes

Fieldwork is an important part of geography and this book is a tool to have as a teacher. It provides a very practical guide to a range of techniques that can be used in different fieldwork settings.

9) e-Geography: Using ICT in quality Geography – Fred Martin

A great guide to incorporating ICT into geography teaching.
10) Living Geography: Exciting futures for teachers and students – David Mitchell

And finally, this book is an interesting read providing a wealth of information and guidance related to concepts used in today’s geography curriculum. The chapter focus on a range of themes in UK geography including citizenship, ICT, young peoples geographies, GIS, human rights and many more. It also provides an introduction to practical classroom strategies including thinking skills approaches, use of images, GIS, and
thinking about scale.

This list is by no means comprehensive as there are a wealth of helpful teaching books out there, but these provide a good foundation for geography teaching. Do you have any favourites that aren’t listed here?

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4 Responses to Top 10 Books for a PGCE in Secondary Geography

  1. Hi
    That’s a great list !
    The first 3 are essential, and ‘Living Geography’ is a fab book.
    I would probably take out Ashley Kent’s book which I have absolutely nothing against, and replace it with Graham Butt’s excellent book (published in 2011)
    Butt, G (ed) (2011) Geography, Education and the Future. London: Continuum.
    Has wonderful chapters on things like Young People’s Geographies, which has a co-construction model that I’d hope new teachers would embrace…

    And, if we’re allowed a bit of self promotion, my own GA toolkit book to show how a KS3 scheme can be constructed, and of course a copy of Mission:Explore to unleash the inner guerrilla….

    • Thanks for the comment. The Kent book was one I nearly replaced with the Nine GIS lessons for KS3 and GCSE, but I for me the former was very useful for my PGCE project at the time. I haven’t had a chance to read the Geography, Education and the Future book yet, though it is my wish list!

      The GA Toolkit is great. There really are so many good geography teaching books around these days.

      And of course Mission Explore. I’m going to try the first Mission Explore book with some undergraduate students next semester to try and encourage them to get outside a bit more. Will see how that goes.

  2. Graeme Eyre says:

    I agree with Alan … A useful list and certainly one I will be making use of. I am delivering some GTP training sessions this year for the local GTP consortium.

    If I had to add a book to the list it would probably be:

    Studying PGCE Geography at M Level. Edited by Clare Brooks.

    Although if pushed I am not sure if it would make it into my top ten it is very useful (in my opinion) in helping readers understand the difference between descriptive writing and the analytical, academic style required of writers when producing ‘acadmic’ style essays. It is also a useful tool when looking for topics for essays.

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