Number one for English language teachers

Editorial: Focus on world geography

Type: Article

In June's editorial, Keith Kelly celebrates the launch of our new interactive atlas by drawing our eyes to the vast array of geographical materal on the site.

Dear colleagues,

I’m occasionally asked the question ‘If you could change your job, what would you be?’ I know it’s not a huge professional leap but my answer is usually ‘I’d teach a subject in a language other than English’. If I could choose what that subject would be, I’d teach geography.

Our focus this month is on world geography and, knowing how broad a subject it is and how vast the range of geography materials is on the site, I’ve narrowed our focus down to travel and exploring our planet.

New to geography?
If your students are new to geography you might want to start with a vocabulary worksheet and lesson plan resource with basic geography terms. Additionally, take a look at The world we live in and any of the resources you find there. Of particular relevance to maps and travel are Symbols on maps, Describing a country (this refers to Spain but the language involved is relevant for describing any country), Map reading and many others.

Travel and tourism
An aspect of geography immediately accessible to our students is travel and tourism. In this section, there are resources which focus on changes in travel and tourism and on a similar theme there is a lesson which looks at tourism in less economically-developed countries.

A CLIL geographer
If you’re interested in finding out about the work of a geographer teaching through the medium of English, then check out our interview with Ola Zaparucha from Poland. Ola’s work in English-medium geography, teaching, training and writing is a great starting point for anyone looking to make contact or simply find out about how it’s done in another country.

Talking geography
Last but not least, the Geography expert quiz is a great paired speaking activity to get students talking about geographical aspects of different parts of the world.

New interactive atlas
On top of all the goodies above, you'll be glad to hear that we are launching an interactive atlas this month. Along with the atlas you’ll find an introduction and tips article highlighting a number of ideas for making use of the software with your classes.

It’s a simple and highly usable piece of software, and the accompanying article focuses on many means of exploiting it, including making use of the visual material; encouraging talking; pronunciation practice; writing and reading student work; and listening and following on a map.

So, even if you can’t get out of school everyday and visit the other side of the planet, you can bring the planet into your classroom!

Extras this month
We travel with other resources this month too! The Icelandic volcano with the unpronounceable name ‘Eyjafjallajokull’ has affected global travel recently and we have a timely Selections poem entitled 'It’s a disaster' for young learners. As the World Cup takes us all on a trip to South Africa this month you might want to download the latest mini-play called ‘Football fanatics’ to get your students in the mood. Ontario, Canada is the destination for the 36th G8 summit this month, so in honour of that we offer a Business Spotlight lesson on who to trust in business.

I travel a lot with my work and wherever I go I try to see the places I visit as seen by the people who live there. If you ask me, it’s the best perspective you can get on a country and the final part of our Using art in the classroom series explores personal perspectives and interpretation, which is ideal for developing students’ language for expressing their view on what they see.

If you find it difficult to get out of your routine lessons, why not take a journey into our experiments section and try out the Nails trick experiment or go on a voyage into our Amazing world of animals, and take a look at Part 4 called 'Food and food chains '.

Bon voyage!

Keith

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