Hywel Roberts and Debra Kidd’s ‘Uncharted Territories: Adventures in learning’ is a book of prompts, provocations and possibilities designed to nourish creativity and generate ideas that will get teachers and pupils excited about learning.
In this time of high-stakes testing, growing mental health issues among young people and increasing pressure on teachers to focus on rote repetition and practice papers, we have to step back and ask: What is the purpose of education? If you think it is to get children through tests, then this book is probably not for you. If, however, you think it is to develop wisdom in children the capacity to think, to apply knowledge, to empathise, to weigh up evidence, to consider consequences and to make informed choices then this book is most definitely for you.
Rooted in practice and grounded in research, ‘Uncharted Territories’ invites a reassessment of what curriculum coverage can look like and provides an abundance of hooks into exploratory learning that place learners of whatever age knee-deep in dilemma, so that they are thinking deeply, analytically and imaginatively. These are not knowledge organisers or schemes of work; rather they are inspirational forays into imagined contexts for learning which, as fantastical as they may appear, always have the real world as their destination. Signposted by story starters and inductive questions not to mention the beautiful illustrations which are sure to fire children’s imaginations Hywel and Debra’s innovative routes to learning will help teachers stray from the beaten track of the curriculum and instil in learners a sense of purpose as they discover, manipulate and apply knowledge and skills across a range of collaborative, cross-curricular problem-solving contexts.
Each chapter focuses on a different place such as a remote castle or a mysterious cave, where the learning will be applied and challenged and is packed with starting points and what ifs …? to establish rich landscapes for exploration and a wide range of opportunities for discussion and writing. To help map out the territory ahead, Hywel and Debra guide the teacher around the key learning landmarks linked to each context’s overarching concepts and lines of inquiry, and point out the many different curriculum areas to which the explorations naturally lend themselves to. The authors go further by offering transferable ideas which can be adjusted to work with whatever age group, as well as a variety of context-based tasks to enable the teacher to explore how elements of, for example, literacy and/or numeracy could be incorporated in order to save curriculum time.
While ‘Uncharted Territories’ is a rallying call to arms for the imagination, in each of its chapters Hywel and Debra also delve into the why in order to present the teacher with a comprehensive debrief of the learning processes and the theoretical and academic underpinning. Furthermore, the authors provide a helpful listing of drama techniques and relevant books and poems that can be incorporated into the learning journeys, as well as useful advice on how to assess and evidence their outcomes.
Designed for use with learners of all ages, from early years to secondary.
Chapters and contexts for exploration include:
1. The Forest
2. The Castle
3. The Graveyard
4. The Mountain
5. The Ship
6. The Universe
7. The Wasteland
8. The Zoo
9. The Cave
10.The Theme Park