SAGT’s Japanese visitors

A request to SAGT via the web site earlier this year has resulted in the visit to Scotland of two Japanese Geography academics. Dr Takashi Shimura, Professor in Social studies education (Geography) from Joetsu University and Dr. Naoyuki Ito from Naruto University. Dr Shimura had made contact enquiring about the possibility of finding out more about Geography teaching in Scotland. He felt that Curriculum for Excellence matched more closely  the Japanese curriculum than the courses available in England that he had been made aware of on a previous visit .

On Tuesday and Wednesday 17th – 18th September Dr Shimura visited Liz Crisp at St Margaret’s in Aberdeen. A busy programme had been organised, and over the course of the two days he had the opportunity to observe geography lessons and to discuss many matters of geographical interest of relevance to the Japanese curriculum. 

Within the wider community of St Margaret’s he met other staff from the modern studies, history and RMPE departments formally and informally. He spoke to the Head of the Junior School about Curriculum for Excellence and met many pupils, including an Advanced Higher History class who are studying Japan, 4 Junior, who will be completing a topic on Japan later in the year, Nursery children, who are looking at maps, and of course many geography classes.

Dr Shimura met geography teachers from other schools and also had the opportunity to visit Hazlehead Academy in order to gain further information about Curriculum for Excellence from their Head of Social Subjects faculty Miss Kirsty Irvine.

An evening meal and quick tour of Aberdeen allowed Dr Shimura to see some of the magnificent building and vistas of the city. 

On Thursday and Friday 19th – 20th September Dr Shimura and Dr Ito were hosted by Val Vannet and her colleagues at the High School of Dundee. Here too they were made very welcome and were able to ask questions, observe lessons of all age groups in different subjects and to expand their knowledge. One particular highlight was seeing Geobus activities with pupils. 

There was also time for a tour of Dundee and the opportunity to visit Discovery.

As geographers together we all found we had much in common and over the course of the week there was much information exchanged and many laughs shared. Their visit was a most enjoyable experience for everyone, and pupils and staff not to mention Dr Shimura and Dr Ito gained much from the experience all started off by an email to the SAGT web site!

Liz Crisp