Image by Alan Parkinson
This weekend was spent in the august surroundings (although it was January) of Madingley Hall, to the North West of Cambridge, close to the American cemetery, and in beautiful rolling countryside.
The occasion was the annual Geography Teacher Educators' conference.
This year's was organised by Liz Taylor and colleagues at the University of Cambridge. I have known Liz for quite a while, as the school I used to teach at worked with Homerton College in Initial Teacher Training/Education - several colleagues started out on the PGCE course there.
I attended the first two days, with a dusting of snow overnight adding a touch of magic to the grounds. The food was great, comfortable accommodation, and a range of excellent sessions to attend. There were also some excellent local ales brewed by the City of Cambridge brewery: one of them: 'Scholars' Choice' was brewed specially for Madingley Hall, and was fairly delicious. I used my iPhone app to work out that it had travelled 12 miles.
I had not been aware of the historical significance of the venue, but this was made clear in an entertaining after dinner speech by Rex Walford.
It turns out that back in the 1960's Madingley was the location of a series of conferences which helped define and frame the shape of school geography for the next 20 years. The conferences were written up in a series of books and papers, and when I got home I realised I had a copy of the key book: "Frontiers in Geographical Teaching".
Rex, it turned out, had kept all the original materials from the conference(s) that he attended at the time, and had a lot of stories about the sessions, and their impact on him.
If you can't wait, the presentation that I used at the conference is reproduced below, although without my inimitable exposition of course...