Geography is concerned with the interplay between the natural systems that govern the planet and the human race.
Its scope is necessarily vast and, in being so, it is a subject rich in colour, diversity, range and content. The Geographer must be able nimbly to link data, ideas and concepts across varying temporal and spatial scales. Observation, critical analysis and evaluative reflection are essential skills that are actively developed at all levels of the subject.
The AQA A Level syllabus is followed owing to its excellent and expansive coverage of contemporary and conceptually challenging issues. This is a two year linear course with fieldwork taking place locally on the River Almond and further afield on the Isle of Arran.
Topics covered in Lower Sixth are: Population and the environment, Water and carbon cycles and Hot desert environments.
Topics covered in Upper Sixth are: Changing places, Hazards and global systems and governance. Sixth form pupils will have a physical Geography specialist teacher and a human Geography specialist teacher as well as a third member of the department taking them through their Geographical skills and fieldwork investigation.
The AQA Geography (Spec A) course is followed. The course content is broad and colourful and links to a wide range of issues, theoretical concepts and case studies. Fieldwork takes place at Tentsmuir Sand Dunes, East Fife.
Fifth Form Topics: Urban issues and challenges, The changing economic world and the Challenge of resource management.
Fourth Form Topics: The challenge of natural hazards, The living world and physical landscapes in the UK.
The syllabus is designed to challenge and to stimulate intellectual engagement by introducing big concepts and ideas to the Third Form pupils. Technical field skills and geographical communication are also focused upon in order to have a broad skill base before entry into the GCSE course.
Third Form Topics: International development and globalisation, Tourism, and the Geography of disaster.
The Second Form syllabus provides a strong foundation in all aspects of Geography and its principal goal is to develop a high level of enjoyment in the subject.
Second Form Topics: Map skills, Rivers and the weather.
The department take great pride in the scope of extra activities offered to pupils under the umbrella of Geography.
GIS: We run a weekly Geographical Information Systems (GIS) course which is offered to pupils at any level of study, enabling them to obtain a professional ArcGIS qualification to use at university level or beyond. Geo-dash: Two members of the department combine their love of running with an orienteering style activity known as geocaching as a Monday activity.
Geog-On: Twice a term, a Geography based documentary film is screened accompanied by popcorn and drinks. This is followed by a group discussion about the film.
Additional Support: The Department offers extra sessions every Tuesday and Thursday evening allowing pupils to complete missed work, catch up on reading, revise for exams or seek help with prep.
Trips: On top of the UK based fieldtrips, the Department is involved in international trips that are not part of the academic curriculum. In recent years, these have included trips to North Africa, Norway, Costa Rica and Montserrat. The Department also makes regular trips to the local area to attend academic lectures and tours. In recent years these have included visiting the Perth Concert Hall for the Royal Scottish Geographical Society Lecture Programme and to the west coast to visit the Scottish Association for Marine Science centre near Oban.
Film director and OG Kevin MacDonald said in a recent interview that “The world is full of opinion. What we need is for people to go out and find the facts.” In many ways that is exactly what we strive to achieve in the Glenalmond Geography Department. Fieldwork and pupil sourced factual data is paramount to everything that we do, fuelling enquiry and a lifelong love of the subject. Learning here is not a passive passing of information from teacher to learner. Pupils are encouraged to question, probe, analyse, review and finally form their own opinions based on the facts that they have sourced first hand.