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A Plexus Curriculum in School Geography—A Holistic Approach to School Geography for an Endangered Planet

  • Phil WoodEmail author
  • Steven Puttick
Chapter
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)

Abstract

Since 2010 English education has seen a large and rapid shift in emphasis from a skills-based curriculum to one based on the idea of ‘core knowledge’, aligned with and given traction by the concepts of ‘cultural literacy’ (Hirsch) and ‘powerful knowledge’ (Young), and reliant on a belief that only ‘academically sanctioned’ knowledge is fit to offer students. This shift has led to a far-reaching reappraisal of the curriculum, prioritising traditional views of knowledge and content which in school geography have re-established a content heavy, traditional offer. This offer may lay some foundations for further study, but fails to engage students in crucial, more complex issues facing the planet, and facing them as citizens in the present and in the future. In this paper we outline what we see as being deficient in the current ‘core knowledge’ agenda, and offer instead an approach we refer to as a plexus curriculum. This is based on a more holistic approach to the subject which seeks to consider how various features of the geography curriculum can be interconnected for greater effect. This includes the intertwining of academic knowledge with the everyday, and the intertwining of different elements of the subject into more holistic and interdependent lenses. By using climate change, the Anthropocene and earth systems as a core conceptual framework around which the subject knowledge base is structured and interconnected, we argue that a plexus curriculum can develop a more critical and holistic understanding of geography, as well as playing a central role in developing geographical imaginations.

Keywords

Plexus curriculum Climate change Anthropocene Cultural literacy Powerful knowledge 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research and Knowledge ExchangeBishop Grosseteste UniversityLincolnUK
  2. 2.School of Teacher DevelopmentBishop Grosseteste UniversityLincolnUK

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