Primary Geography graduate publishes article on the value of outdoor learning for pupils with special educational needs

Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT), Christopher Kinlan, has published an article in a Geographical Association journal, in which he discusses his approach to, and experiences of, teaching Geography to pupils on the autistic spectrum with SEN.

Posted: 13 March 2017

image for news story Primary Geography graduate publishes article on the value of outdoor learning for pupils with special educational needs
Christopher Kinlan, Roehampton School Direct graduate, now employed at Bradstow School, Kent.

On his PGCE Primary School Direct course, Chris was placed in a school in Kent which specialises in teaching children and young people with intellectual disabilities who are on the autistic spectrum continuum. He was supported by Roehampton through training sessions and tutorials, which helps trainee teachers to develop both through practice and theory. His article published in Primary Geography was based on his experiences during his training year.

The article, entitled ‘Real Life Skills’, is based on Chris’s assignment, ‘'A critical evaluation of outdoor learning in a special school”. In the article, Chris assesses the methods he employed for teaching Geography, and the outcomes for pupils. He responds to Ofsted’s call for an increase in fieldwork opportunities for pupils, by setting out how he plans lessons which allow students to work outside, learning skills such as map use and the ability to use signs to get around, which can be very challenging for autistic pupils.

Emily Rotchell, Senior Lecturer in Geography Education at the University of Roehampton, suggested that he should try to publish his assignment in the Primary Geography journal. She said, “It’s always great to see essays of a standard like Chris’s, which can be part of a published journal. Chris should be congratulated on his achievements and we continue to support our students with opportunities to get their work published."

Chris said, “I like knowing that something I have written and shared with my class has been published and is available for others to use and adapt for their students. It really is an honour to have something you have written published in a journal like Primary Geography.

“Huge thanks to Emily for her help and support as without her guidance, it would not have been possible.” Chris is now working at the same school where he trained, in his first year as an NQT.

University of Roehampton has a long history in teacher training, offering postgraduate certificates, including in SEN training.

Chris’s Medium Term Plan is freely available, so that teachers can share ideas to improve their teaching.

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