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Brookes students grow into global citizens

This month’s blog comes from Helen Childerhouse, Subject Lead for Geography who explains how the subject helps to prepare students for global citizenship.

Students come from many different parts of the world to study at Brookes – at present we have youngsters from Mexico, Iran, and China, as well as the UK. This diversity unlocks a real richness within the curriculum, especially in subjects like geography. We encourage students to explore the world and world issues – from climate and development to migration and sustainability – and reflect on their own attitudes and feelings towards these issues.

At GCSE level this opens up numerous topics within the exam curriculum. This includes traditional physical geography such as rivers, coasts and hazardous environments. And within human geography we look at urban and rural issues as well as economic development. We also study three cross-curricular modules that look at the planet as a whole and the impact we humans have on it.

And at all levels, the depth of thinking and analysis from our students never fails to impress me, whether it’s discussing global food supplies (our current year 9 topic), ways to build sustainable communities (something our year 8’s have been looking at) or paying virtual visits to amazing places from the Himalayas to the Great Barrier Reef  (year 7’s pictured below). Through their studies – as well as fun activities during our weekly environment club – our students gain a sound understanding of sustainability from every angle.

Being part of the Brookes family allows us to explore the world through the experience of both students and staff from many different places. We are also lucky enough to have a weekly slot to discuss topical issues where we look at what’s happening in the news – made all the better thanks to our small class sizes so every person can share their views. This gives our students a greater geographical understanding and global knowledge.

Of course, just as important is our local surroundings here in Suffolk and, having lived in the area my whole life, it’s a privilege to give our students from overseas a real flavour of what our region has to offer. This involves plenty of fieldwork from looking at urban development in our local towns to studying natural shoreline processes on our beautiful Suffolk coast.

Preparing students to become truly global citizens is at the heart of the Brookes philosophy and for me this is perhaps best exemplified through our approach to geographical studies. We are equipping young people with an excellent knowledge of the world who will step up to be the decision-makers of the future.

Helen Childerhouse
Subject Lead – Geography