Same old story: the problem of object-based thinking as a basis for teaching distant places
Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter, St Luke’s Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter EX1 2LU, UK
(Received 12 March 2013; ﬁnal version received 16 May 2013)
The English Geography National Curriculum encourages primary teachers to focus on similarities and differences when teaching distant places. The issues this raises are particularly acute when teaching geography in the context of the Global South. In this article I argue that comparisons based on object-based thinking can lead to views of the ‘Other’ that undermine attempts to challenge stereotypes and develop positive attitudes towards difference. Relational thinking is proposed as an alternative, where difference is seen as a relation rather than a distinction. Drawing on an Economic and Social Research Council research project, these alternative ways of thinking are explored through research participants’ constructions of culture and identity during study visits to Southern India and The Gambia. The implications for primary teachers are considered.