“Debates in Geography Education” is a constantly thoughtful and thought-provoking “reader”. Split into Policy Debates, Classroom Debates and Subject Debates, the main focus is on the middle section. Each chapter is really designed to be a stand-alone read. It’s well organized and logical and while it can be read through cover to cover, and to some extent it is so well structured that there is a great temptation to do this, in order for each chapter to make sense as an individual topic, there is a degree of repetition. Each chapter tends to follow a similar structure of looking at the recent history of the issue through to what happens now to ideas for the future. In terms of the history in particular, there is a inevitably a degree of each covering similar stories. A further issue that is beyond the control of the authors is that there is some uncertainty about the current Coalition government’s influence on the curriculum. However, by and large it is current and up to date. Inevitably it’s a snap shot and the relevance and insight will fade with time to some extent.
It deals with thorny topics such as what is geography, what do we mean by “thinking geographically”, how does ICT impact on teaching of geography, how are students tested and who sets the curriculum. It’s very readable and the editors have done an excellent job in imposing a consistent style so that it doesn’t feel as if each chapter is written by a different person. All the authors are experienced in active teaching, higher education or training teachers. It’s relevant and interesting. Highly recommended for new and more experienced teachers alike ... and for politicians!