is an enquiry designed to enable pupils to get a deeper
feeling for tropical African countries, and to celebrate
and enjoy the diversity of the world.
looks at how children learn and how children develop
a sense of place.
the tropicality exercise is concerned with interpreting
pictures. Young people often need support from teachers
to interpret pictures. They may misunderstand what they
are looking at, ignore the unfamiliar, or home in on
less relevant details. Help our pupils to get started
by asking them to think what would it be like to be
in the picture, or imagine how they would describe it
to someone with no sight.
a real sense of place from a photo, or from any sources,
depends on two important questions:
does it tell you?
doesnt it tell you?
lessons to really explore a sense of place, the latter
question is crucial.
is a sense of place?
of place is about feeling what it is like to be there:
the ambience of a place. It could be interpreted as:
sights, sounds, smells and textures you would experience;
impression of the landscape, the weather and the peoples
way of life and the way they behave.
natural and human elements that make that place unique.
a variety of different resources is vital to giving
a sense of place.
available sources are often an inadequate tool for getting
over a sense of place, but we can compensate for this
inadequacy. Each type of resource offers something different:
glimpses into the landscape and lives of people
time to dwell on images of landscape and lifestyles
opinions and feelings of the people
descriptive passages to develop vocabulary
or eyewitness accounts from people who live there.
the range of sources we show pupils, the more informed
their sense of place becomes. Ask pupils to compare
the sights, sounds, smells and overall ambience suggested
by the different resources. What can this tell us about
who might have created the source? Who might it have
been made for? And why? Sometimes, the teacher can annotate
the resources with personal experiences.
Africa is the continent with the lowest access to modern
technology and the Internet in particular, it is possible
to supplement published sources with more direct contact
with people in other places. We can now access a greater
variety of eyewitness statements, sounds, news and pictures
via the worldwide Web and email.
of information tell you as much about the people who
made the source as they do about the place in the source.
exercise can be used with any picture:
pupils to look at a picture and write down a list of
adjectives (6 12) they would associate with this
them, giving a "+" to those adjectives that
are positive in the pupil's view e.g. clean; a "-"
to those adjectives that are negative in the pupil's
view, e.g. dirty; and a "=" to those adjectives
which are neither positive nor negative e.g. muddy
when unsure just categorize them as =
up the number of +, and =. How do you perceive
the place in the picture? Is it predominantly negative,
predominantly positive or do you have a balanced view?
your own list and encourage children to look at each
other's list. How do they differ? And what are the factors
that influence interpretation?
factors that can influence perception:
of that place
of people you respect
the media represent that place
of your family and peer group to people who are
different and to places abroad
pupils are never too old to develop a sense of place
and they should progress from simple sensory awareness
of places through to deeper understanding of perceptions
some more exercises and ideas for exploring perceptions
images of a place, ask the pupils to select adjectives
from an envelope and link them with the picture. Use
the categories =, - and + to see how they see that place.
is this place?
beginning of a topic, give the pupils a collection of
images which all come from the same country. Dont
tell them where they come from. Pupils seem to increase
their observational powers looking in every corner of
the picture for evidence when they dont know where
that place is.
should include questions like:
photographs surprised you?
gave you the most evidence?
are led into a darkened room and create a walk through
experience where they encounter the sights, sounds,
smells and touches of a country.
visit a country that you know you will be studying,
then take a set of slides, record the ambient sounds
and conversations, collect everyday objects that represent
to stimulate the pupils into enquiry questions that
they subsequently will be taught about or can investigate
place is it?
pupil into one of three groups representing an organisation
from the country you are about to study, for example
tourist authority wishing to increase visitors from
aid agency wishing to raise funds
- a development
corporation wishing to an export product
group to design a brochure and an oral presentation
around this set of images, describing the place to people
abroad. After the presentations discuss with the pupils
what they have learned about the way that places are
the study of a less economically developing
developing descriptive vocabulary of distant
citizenship getting children to feel positively
about people in other places, and understand how to
make others feel positive about people in other places.