Learning as a process has undergone a great revolution. Unlike before when learning was teacher based, focus is steadily shifting to the learner. Bush (2003, p. 41) notes that it is currently emphasised that in a learning process, the learner should be actively engaged in the whole process of learning. Kohl (2000, p. 54) argues that active participation of the learner is the only sure way of ascertaining that the intended knowledge is imparted to the learner. Teaching and learning are becoming more practical. Gardner (2006, p. 71) says that it is no longer a classroom affair where the learner and the teacher engage in theoretical aspects of learning within the confines of the classroom. Learning has changed focus and now the process embraces practicality of knowledge acquired in the classroom. Learning in an outdoor approach is gaining popularity (Wallace 2002, p. 58). The learner is engaged actively in the real issues within the environment, a fact that makes it easy to relate what is learned in the classroom to what is there in the real-life scenario.
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Hansen (2007, p. 39) affirms that Geography as a subject offers a learner with a rich experience and knowledge of the physical environment. The choice of this subject was motivated by the practicality involved in the subject. Geography is everywhere that is, within the classroom, along the way as the learner is going home, while at home, while the learner is on the playing ground, or even when asleep. It is a very rich subject and so practical. It is real and engaging the learner on it can be very easy irrespective of the age (Branscombe 2003, p. 78). It is what learners see and experience on their daily lives. For those in early stages of learning, this subject offers the best alternative for the teacher to cultivate the attitude of participatory learning approach as the teacher can easily engage the learner in active discussion and analysis of the immediate environment (Hoodless 2008, p. 81).
In this module, the researcher intends to take the learners from the classroom to the field, and engage them in the basic aspects of environment that are very common to them but one in which they might not have related to Geography directly that is, Bicycle riding. To them, this might be fun or just a simple means of transport. However, this report is going to bring out how this is closely related to Geography as a subject learned in the class. This would help bring a connection between classroom lessons and real life scenarios.
According to behaviour intellectuals, learning is a process of acquiring knowledge that would shape one’s behaviour (Bailey 2010, p. 45). This theory emphasizes on the importance of interconnection between classroom learning and real life scenarios. Similarly, Dewey, Brunner, Merrill and Papert assert that learning is an active process and is student cantered (De Boo 1999, p. 34). Constructivism requires the ending of standardized curriculum. This theory majorly relies on how students create their own understanding.
Report of Learning Activities
This research was based on the use of bicycle as a means of transport to work. This was chosen because it would not only bring out the importance of conservation of the environment but also enhance the learners’ ability to comprehend the use of statistics in geography. The research interview involved 60 people in two hospitals that are situated within Cambridge. Most of the respondents met at the bicycle-parking site were given questionnaires that asked five questions. The questions were as follows. Do you normally travel by bicycle to work? How long do you take to arrive to work? Where do you travel from? What are the main reasons that make you travel/or not by bicycle? Do you find safe to travel by bicycle? If not, why?
In answering question 1, 42 cyclists said that they travel to work places by bicycles. This was a big number considering that only 60 respondents were interviewed. This indicates that 70% of those interviewed in the two hospitals based in Cambridge travel by bicycle. Those who confirmed that they do not travel by bicycle were 14. This means that 23% do not travel to work places by bicycle. Others gave specific reasons as to when they travel or do not travel by bicycles. A certain respondent stated that he only travels to work place by bicycle twice in a week. Another respondent indicated that he only travels to work place by bicycle when it is not raining. A different respondent said that she only travels to work place by bicycle when she can’t catch a bus. Another interviewee claimed that she only travels by bicycle during summer. Three other respondents stated that they sometimes travel by bicycle without attributing their behaviour to any specific factor. The three respondents indicated that 5% of the population surrounding Cambridge occasionally travels by bicycle.
Most of the staffs working at Addenbrooke’s Hospital travel by bicycles. In total, only 5 individuals did not frequently travel by bicycle. However, there was no incidence where an individual was found not travelling by bicycle at any period of the year.
In contrast, the majority of staff members at Papworth Hospital do not travel by bicycle to work place. At Papworth hospital, 14 members do not travel to work place by bicycle. On the remaining 16 respondents, it was found out that 2 individuals did not travel by bicycles on normal basis (Strauss & Corbin 1990, p. 90).
The time covered by cyclists while travelling to job ranged from 5 minutes to 45 minutes. Most of those who travelled from Cambridge took long time to reach work places. However, there was an incidence where a staff took 5 minutes to reach the work place. There was no clear difference for time taken to travel by bicycle for those who are used to it and for those who are not used to. Staff members working at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, took the longest time to reach to the hospital. The shortest period taken to travel to work place by bicycle was 15 minutes.
Majority of those who were used to travelling by bicycle reside at Cambridge. Those travelling from Caxton were many as well. There were various reasons given by various employees as to why they travel to work places by bicycles. The number of individuals working at Addenbrooke Hospital, who gave reasons of travelling by bicycles as being cheaper and economic, was 25. This is a representation of 83% of the population at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. However, some individuals who stated that the means was cheaper attributed their interest of travelling by bicycles to some specific factors. Those factors included unavailability of buses, health issues, less traffic and quicker means of transport. Others gave specific answers such as short distance, having one car in the house, lack of driving license and healthy lifestyle.
At Papworth Hospital, different views were given regarding travelling by bicycle to work places. Amongst those who travel by bicycles on normal basis, 13 respondents indicated that the means is cheaper while two of them stated that they do not have cars. Among those that do not travel by bicycles, six of them claimed that the work place was far. Five individuals said that the weather condition was not conducive for one to travel by a bicycle. Only one individual said that there was no safe parking for bicycles. Nevertheless, one of the respondents interviewed stated that he did not travel by bicycle because streets were not in good state.
At Addenbrooke Hospital, 28 respondents out of the 30 interviewed indicated that travelling by bicycle was safe. This is a representation of 93% of those working at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. One individual stated that travelling to work place at night was not safe since there are inadequate streetlights. Another individual who claimed that it was not safe attributed his statement to the poor road condition.
A good number of those interviewed at Papworth Hospital also indicated that travelling by bicycle was safe. Among the 30 respondents, 25 individuals who represent 83% of population at Papworth Hospital said that travelling by bicycle was safe. Those who refuted the statement argued that the streets were not good, weather was not conducive and there was an inadequate lighting and signs.
The report indicates that the majority of staff is nowadays travelling by bicycle because it is economical in relation to other means of transport. This is proved by 70% of the population who travel by bicycles to work places in two of the hospitals, that is Addenbrooke’s and Papworth Hospitals. A number of factors hindered the means of transport that is, travelling by bicycles. These include factors such as long distances, poor road conditions and un-conducive weather. Other factors that hindered the means included the presence of none or one car in the house, lack of driving license among other factors. The graphs below summarises the findings of the research.
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Although the statistics involved in this research may be beyond comprehension of a primary learner, it has successfully brought out aspects of geography. A number of respondents stated that bad weather was a hindrance to using bicycle as a means of transport. This helps the learner appreciate different aspects of weather and how they impact on our daily lives. According to Schunk (1996), statistics are also important to the learner, especially the graphs which to them may be easy to comprehend. To enhance this, this research did not incorporate complex statistical analysis.
Bicycle Usage to Workplaces
Reasons for Bicycle Usage
Reasons for Not Using Bicycle
Discussion of Relevance to Children’s Learning
The current education systems in various countries encourage the practical aspect of learning (Wenham 2005, p. 41). The learner is made to understand various aspects of learning by exposing them to the real item of study. United Kingdom is one such country. After several reviews, United Kingdom’s current primary curriculum is keen on developing a strong foundation to learners at early stages of their education. This curriculum was developed to respond to the current needs of society, which has continuously been unpredictable due to emerging technologies. In relation to other systems of teaching in other places in the world, Richardson (1997) observes that the UK education system portrays a number of unique features that were introduced with an aim of improving the level of education. Pupils are categorised by years depending on their age. The primary curriculum starts with Year One, with pupils aged between five and six years and runs up to Year Seven, with pupils aged between eleven and twelve. Above this, Year Eight to Year Thirteen are high school students (Cooper 2002, p. 34).
Geography: Key Stage 2
In the curriculum, the approach that should be taken to ensure success in teaching geography as a subject is clearly stated. There are objectives that should be met by any teacher of this subject. Bottery (2001, p. 56) notes that top of these requirements is the need to ensure that geographical skills and inquiry are applied in the development of knowledge and in understanding patterns, processes, places and the environment. At this stage, children are expected to investigate and understand places, people and the environment within the United Kingdom and outside world (Morrison 2008, p. 14). They should be in a position to link places in the entire world in terms of their similarities and differences. Also of importance is that they get to know how the environment is affected by actions of man and how in turn this environment would affect people. It is required that such pupils conduct geographical inquiries in classrooms and outside their classrooms. In so doing, they should be in a position to use recourses such atlas maps, ICT and aerial photographs (Nardi 2001, p. 74).
In the process of developing knowledge, skills and understanding, there are some objectives that should be met. The objectives are categorised into a number of sections. The first section entails understanding geographical inquiries and skills (Jarvis 2006, p. 17). In this part, students should be in a position to ask proper Geographical questions, collect, record, analyse, and draw meaningful conclusions from such evidence. They should also be in a position to identify and describe the views of different people about Geographical issues. Saracho (2002, p. 38) asserts that they should then be in a position to communicate this information to the right target audience using appropriate means. From the teacher, the following are expected. The teacher should use suitable fieldwork techniques to foster learning. Learning aids such as charts and maps should also be employed. Above all, the teacher should sharpen skills of the students in decision making (White 2004, p. 39).
Relevance of Chosen Activity to the Education of Young Children
The study was based on travelling by bicycle. A questionnaire was developed to help gather people’s view about the use of a bicycle when going to work. This was very relevant to the education of children. The use of bicycle has a positive effect on the environment (Gamble & Yates 2008, p. 63). The curriculum demands that pupils understand how the environment is affected by human activity. Using a bicycle to go to work would help explain this. Again, the syllabus demands that the pupil should know how the environment affects people. In the questionnaire, some people responded that poor weather barred them from using bicycles. This is a typical example of how the environment affects people. From the response obtained from the questionnaire, some individuals responded that they did not like riding. This would help the student in analysing people’s perception, another item that was required in the curriculum. The questionnaire also brings the issue of distance. This is another important aspect of learning geography.
Reflective Review and Evaluation of Knowledge Achieved
A good approach of learning enables an individual to achieve a better comprehension of the subject under study (Richardson 1997, p. 82). It enables one to gain an in-depth understanding of the area under study. Undertaking this study proved the best way of making pupils understand the behaviour depicted by residents of Cambridge city in relation to using bicycles as the means of transport. A deeper knowledge was gained by understanding different factors that determined the usage of bicycles as a means of transport. From this, pupils were able to understand how the environment affects human beings. They realized that poor weather can bar one from doing what he or she likes doing, such as riding. This study also sharpened the pupil’s analytical skills.
This was achieved through actively engaging the pupils in analysis of results. The teacher first explained the context under which the study was carried and went further to explain the intentions of the study. This was meant to familiarize the learners with the subject matter. Learners were then engaged actively in analysis of the data gathered from the field. The analysis emphasized on learner participation.
The experience gained from this study clearly illustrates the theoretical accounts of learning put forth by a number of scholars. Dewey, Brunner, Merrill and Papert held that learning is an active process as opposed to a passive one (Hansen 2007, p. 19). This is ascertained by this study. A positive result could only be achieved if the learner was actively involved in the learning process. It did not only enhance understanding but also made the learner appreciate various environmental factors. The above scholars also hold that Students usually construct ideas depending on the past information and the social interaction.
Reynolds (2011, p. 17) defines meta-cognition as learner’s automatic awareness of his or her own knowledge and the ability to comprehend, manipulate and control his or her cognitive processes. Lockwood (2008, p. 28) asserts that reflection and evaluation are important aspects of meta-cognitive process. A pupil who is able to reflect on what he or she has learned can be said to be on the right path towards successful learning. In this study for that matter, it was important that the learner be in a position to evaluate the responses and be able to relate them to classroom lessons.
Notes Relating to Geography
Geography is one of the most important subjects in the career of a learner. It is so practical and real. It entails the human surrounding. According to Leithwood, Jantzi and Steinbach (1999, p. 12), in classrooms, at home, in the fields or along the road, Geography will be felt directly in one way or the other. For young learners in the primary level of education, Geography is very important. It helps individuals understand why nature is important. It brings to focus how actions of people affect the environment and how in turn the environmental aspects affect people. Geography brings out the interrelationship between man and nature, and the mutual benefit generated from this relationship. The study helped bring out the various aspects of geography in a much simpler way that junior learners could comprehend. It gave an analysis of how riding a bicycle was related to various patterns of weather. It also brought out the issue of distance, which is a very important aspect in map work. It was the right study for this group of learners.
Learning Geography at Key Stage 2
Geography lessons taught at the Key Stage 2 prepares students to join the Key Stage 3, where they shall specialize in a certain area (Cooper 2002, p. 73). It also helps teachers in assessing the ability of students, as well as understanding their potential area of specialization as far as their performance and qualification in geography is concerned. Geography is among the subjects that are taught for students to understand their surroundings. It helps people understand their environment better and identify issues that should be addressed to improve the community, the nation and the world at large (Leithwood, Jantzi & Steinbach 1999, p. 17).
At this stage, students between the age of 7 and 11 years should cover year 3 to year 6 issues (Lockwood 2008, p. 45). A number of geography units are covered at this stage. At year 3, students cover issues related to investigations of the local area and weather. At year 4, units covered include improving the environment, village settlers, the village in India, as well as how and where do we spend our time. In year 5 students study a course referred to as ‘A contrasting UK’. Furthermore, a course termed as ‘Should the high street be closed to traffic?’ is also covered in year 5. The mountain environment and other units are covered in year 6 (Kohl 2000, p. 8).
List of References
Bailey, R 2010, The Philosophy of Education, Routledge, London.
Bottery, M 2001, “Globalization and the UK competition state: no room for transformational leadership in education?” School Leadership and Management, Vol. 21, no. 1, pp 34-78.
Branscombe, A 2003, Early Childhood Curriculum: A Constructivist perspective. Houghton Miffin, Boston.
Bush, T 2003, Theories of Educational Management, Sage London.
Cogan, D & Webb, J 2002, Introducing children’s literature, Routledge, New York.
Cooper, H 2002, History in the Early Years, Routledge, London.
De Boo, M 1999, Enquiring Children, Challenging Teaching, Oxford University Press, Buckingham.
Gamble, N & Yates, S 2008, Exploring Children’s Literature, Sage, London.
Gardner, H 2006, Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons, Basic Books, New York.
Hansen, D 2007, Ethical Visions of Education, Teachers College Press, New York.
Hoodless, P 2008, Teaching History in Primary Schools, Learning Matters, Exeter.
Jarvis, P 2006, Towards a Comprehensive Theory of Learning, Routledge, London.
Kohl, H 2000, The Discipline of Hope: Learning from a Lifetime of Teaching, New Press, New York.
Leithwood, K, Jantzi, D & Steinbach, R 1999, Changing Leadership for Changing Times, Open University Press, Buckingham.
Lockwood, M 2008, Promoting Reading for Pleasure in the Primary School, Sage, London.
Morrison, G 2008, Early Childhood Education Today, Pearson Education, New York.
Nardi, D 2001, Multiple Intelligence and Personality Type, Telos Publications, New York.
Reynolds, K 2011, Children’s literature: a very short introduction, Gosport, Oxford Press.
Richardson, V 1997, Constructivist Teacher Education: building a new world understanding, Falmer, London.
Saracho, O 2002, Contemporary perspectives on Early Childhood Curriculum, Connecticut: Information Age, Grrenwich.
Schunk, D 1996, Learning Theories; an educational perspective, Englewood Cliffs, London.
Strauss, A & Corbin, J 1990, Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques, Sage Publications, Newbury Park.
Wallace, B 2002, Teaching Thinking Skills across the Early Years, David Fulton, London.
Wenham, M 2005, Understanding Primary Science: ideas, concepts and explanations, Paul Chapman, London.
White, J 2004, Rethinking the School Curriculum: Values, aims and Purposes, Routledge, London.
- Do you normally travel by bicycle to work?
- How long do you take to arrive to work?
- Where do you travel from?
- What are the main reasons that make you travel/or not by bicycle?
- Do you find safe to travel by bicycle? If no, why?
Geography at Key Stage 2
Students between the age of 7 and 11 years at this stage should go through year 3, 4, 5 and 6. A number of geography units are covered at this stage. At year 3, students cover units such as investigating our local area and the weather around the world (Hansen 2007, p. 31). At stage three, units covered include improving the environment, village settlers and villages in India, as well as how and where do we spend our time.
|AGE OF STUDENT||STAGE||YEAR||TESTS AND TASKS|
|3/4 and 4/5 year-olds||Reception|
|5/6 and 6/7 year-olds||Key stage one||Years 1 and 2||National assessment and testing in English and mathematics|
|7/8, 8/9, 9/10 and 10/11 year-olds||Key stage two||Years 3, 4, 5 and 6||National assessment in English, math and science|
|11/12, 12/13 and 13/14 year-olds||Key stage three||Years 7, 8 and 9||National assessment in English, mathematics and science|
|14/15 and 15/16 year-olds||Key stage four||Years 10 and 11||A good number of students take GCSEs only while others take a combination of GCSEs, GNVQs or other national credentials.|