Thumbnail Image

Advancing Scholarship /scholarship in geography classrooms

The Scholarship examination is a longstanding feature of secondary school assessment. Scholarship is available to our “brightest and best” students in geography, and it is designed to recognise excellence and thereby enhance access to the tertiary education system. It is surprising, therefore, that geography Scholarship in New Zealand secondary schools has received little attention. Perhaps this is because Scholarship is a must-have feature of an education system shaped by meritocracy: it is hard to imagine a secondary education system that did not encourage students to think, act and perform independently at the highest level. Yet Scholarship is largely hidden; it has a publically available assessment specification and achievement standard, but it affects only a small proportion of the student population and teacher involvement in preparation for Scholarship is often modest, especially if low numbers cannot sustain a regular timetable slot. I will argue that while the intent of Scholarship is positive, the mechanism is crude: some very good students don’t enter Scholarship geography, some of the best don’t do themselves justice on the day, and not all forms of scholarship are revealed. The first substantive section of this chapter looks at the use of the word ‘Scholarship’ (capitalised) to describe the outcome of an assessment process in secondary schools. This section is followed by a commentary on ‘scholarship’ (lower case) as a broader description of learning, teaching, research and intellectual developments in a discipline. The initial focus is thus on geography Scholarship as a prescription in the secondary sector, the second on scholarship as a career aspiration of those engaged in geography in the tertiary sector: two different uses of the word underpinning a commitment to lifelong education. While there are clear connections between school geography Scholarship and the development of tertiary scholarship in geography, retaining them as discrete, item-bound entities is artificial. In the concluding sections of the chapter I argue that the opportunities provided by the particular nature of the Scholarship experience at Year 13 can build into intellectual futures that include broader definitions of scholarship. Central to this argument is recognition of the scholarly functions of secondary teachers of geography.
Chapter in Book
Type of thesis
Chalmers, L. (2015). Advancing Scholarship /scholarship in geography classrooms. In M. Taylor, L. Richards, & J. Morgan (Eds.), Geography in Focus: Teaching and Learning in Issues-based Classrooms (pp. 107–122). Wellington, New Zealand: New Zealand Council for Educational Research Press (NZCER).
New Zealand Council for Educational Research Press (NZCER)
© Authors, 2015