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Alexandra College

Geography

Welcome to geography.

Geography is a multi-disciplinary subject encompassing geology, climate change, global warming, environmental studies, culture, economics, weather patterns, demography, physical and regional processes, ordnance survey skills and aerial photography.

It is very relevant into today’s world.

MISSION OF THE DEPARTMENT

The Geography department of Alexandra College aim to provide all students with an awareness of and an appreciation of global issues for the world they live in.

We foresee that our students will develop a range of geographical skills that are necessary for interpreting geographical data. We endeavour to promote a respect for different cultures, an appreciation of the natural environment and an understanding of the physical and human processes shaping the environment we live in.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE DEPARTMENT

Our role as Geography teachers is to involve our students in a body of knowledge, which has wide horizons, incorporating the three strands of physical, human and economic geography.

Aims

  • To encourage the students to develop a better understanding of their physical, social, cultural and economic environment – at local and global levels.
  • To help students to function more effectively as members of society, towards which they should learn to show an attitude of tolerance and respect. They should develop a positive attitude towards such matters as interdependence of peoples, a social conscience and the need for social co-operation and should attain an understanding of other people’s problems.
  • To encourage students to show a developing concern for the declining quality of the environment and learn to play their own role in the conservation of the world’s resources.

To acquire a range of skills including:

  • An enquiring mind
  • Observational skills
  • Analysis and evaluation of data and issues
  • Organised thinking
  • A creative approach to possible solution of problems

Throughout the study of the various courses (i.e. Junior Certificate, Transition Year, and Leaving Certificate) it is intended that the students should develop a clear understanding of concepts and issues at both local, European and global level.

Objectives:

Geography is a broad, interesting and very relevant subject, concerned primarily with the study of people and their environment.

Geography, at all levels should help students develop a deeper understanding of their physical and human surroundings.

Through their study of this subject, students should develop a range of geographical skills that should help them make informed judgements about issues at local, national and international levels.

Students taking Geography in the Senior Cycle will be building on the skills and knowledge acquired at Junior Certificate level.

The Leaving Certificate Course allows students to:

  • Develop a knowledge and understanding of contrasting physical and human Environments.
  • Promote conservation and sustainable management of the earth’s resources.
  • Recognise and develop a sensitivity to peoples of other cultures
  • Promote active citizenship
  • Develop a range of geographical skills e.g. spacial awareness, investigative and evaluation skills, presentation and communication skills.

At all levels, Field Work is included in order for the student to move outside the confines of the classroom and to learn to observe, first hand, some aspects of the local area. In this way, Geography is made more relevant for the student whose basic research skills of observing, collecting and recording should be enhanced.

HOW MANY TIMETABLED PERIODS ARE THERE EACH YEAR?

Junior cycle = Each form class has 3 x 40mins periods per week

Transition year = 3 x 40 mins periods per week. It is unfortunate that we no longer have three periods per week with Transition years.

Senior cycle = 5 periods per week (two double and one single).

FACILITIES

Use of the enhanced I.T. in the College is playing an increasing role in the Geography Dept. and we are delighted with the vast resources of current information that can now be available to both teachers and students of Geography.

We are grateful to the Council for their ongoing support of this important facility. 1st and 2nd years are very fortunate to have ipads and use their iBook in every class. Transition years have access to the computer room for research.

FIELD TRIPS

We as a department have seen the benefits that active participation and fieldwork methodologies can bring to both students and teachers through the implementation of the Geographical Investigation for the Leaving Certificate.

This supports the argument that learning activities need to be based around a range of intelligences.

While we introduce more fieldwork during Transition year. Opportunities could exist in completing a soil profile study, weather measurements, land use studies, traffic counts and demographic surveys.

Fieldwork trips with various classes currently include:

First years to Tayto Park, TY to the Zoo, Sixth years to Glendalough.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

We are very fortunate to be able to transfer a lot of geographical content to life situations and to the world we all live in.

This role of assessment is to measure the amount of material absorbed. However, this doesn’t always imply understanding. Teaching for understanding puts the emphasis very much on understanding.

Students learn to apply their understanding of various issues (demographics, climate change, migration, economic development) in a number of ways – through explaining in their own works, applying principles learnt to problem solving etc. Teaching for understanding involves ensuring that students are aware of their goals for each class and topic (learning outcomes clearly specified to focus the girls).

It also involves drawing upon images, visual aids and examples. This can include case studies and illustrations. Where possible we make every effort to draw on their own prior experience and past experience, e.g. through travel, the place they live etc. This also involves drawing on links from the Junior cycle.