Ms Edel McGill (Head of Department)
Ms Maura McArdle
Ms Anne-Marie Heathwood
Mr Jim Doyle
Mrs Roisin Martin
Geography concerns itself with our environment and the ways we have adapted and made use of this environment. We seek to understand why certain 'things' are in certain locations; why earthquakes, volcanoes and mountains occur; why famine is so widespread throughout the world and why inner cities are becoming 'deserts'? Throughout each of the Key Stages we study the processes such as urbanisation, resource depletion, population growth and industrialisation. We study differences between countries, environmental pollution, desertification and ethnic diversity.
So the study of Geography at Our Lady and St Patrick's College attempts to bring our students to appreciate their surroundings and environment, to become aware of the challenges facing our planet and to realise that they have a very important to play in managing our environment.
We aim to equip all students with a variety of Key Skills and to maximise their academic progress in geography, and across the curriculum. All students carry out at least two ICT investigations every year which allows students to appreciate the emerging technologies of today.
Key Stage 3
At Key Stage Three all students follow a course in geography based on the revised Northern Ireland Curriculum. We use a variety of child centred teaching methods such as power point presentations, debates and fieldwork activities, to meet the individual learning styles of each student. We aim to provide opportunities for every student to reach their full potential and grow to appreciate our world.
Key Stage 4
At GCSE, students follow the CCEA Specification in Years 11 and 12. Students complete their own project work for the course following a fieldwork course during year 11 in Ballymena CBD.
At A Level, we offer the CCEA Specification at AS and A2 Level. In addition to the core modules we teach optional modules covering ethnic diversity in human geography; and earth structure and atmospheric systems in physical geography.
A vital part of Geography is fieldwork whereby the real environment becomes the classroom. In many ways it is the most exciting and stimulating part of Geography. It allows us to teach the skills of geographical investigation: to define a problem, collect the relevant data, present and analyse the data and to propose a solution to the problem. Our extensive fieldwork programme includes
Year 8 - A Microclimate Study within the College Grounds
Year 10 – A River Study – Crawfordsburn, North Down
GCSE - Settlement Geography - Ballymena
A Level - Sand Dunes at White Park Bay, Co. Antrim
Geography 'overlaps' many disciplines and this is the source of the subject's flexibility and integration, giving our students the opportunity to move into a wide variety of careers. Some careers like teaching, planning, surveying and cartography will use Geography directly. But there are many careers open to geographers more by virtue of the type of trained mind geographers have than by their knowledge of the subject. Our increasing use of Geographic Information Systems, the internet and various computer applications has enabled us to buy in a small cluster of Pentium computers linked to the College's computer network. Students are encouraged to make good use of this mini network within their study of Geography.
Geography aims to equip students with those lifelong skills which enable them to thrive in the work environment. Career advice is provided through Options Day Consultations, the College Careers Convention and in conjunction with STEM training opportunities and displays in all Geography classrooms.
Extra curricular opportunities are provided through our very active and successful Geography Club, known as the ‘TAG Team’. They aim to raise awareness and encourage students and the local community to ‘Think About Geography Today’. The Geography Club are currently the 2009 All Ireland ECOUNESCO Young Environmentalist title holders.