The teaching of geography in Dominican College Sion Hill encourages students to acquire skills of empathy, critical analysis and cultivate a social conscience. It works to help students have a better understanding of how interdependent we are. We aim to develop in students a range of skills and competencies necessary to carry out geographical enquiry and to interpret geographical information. We aim to foster in students a lifelong love of their natural and cultural environment. The department ensures that students are prepared for state examinations and reach their full potential academically.
Geography helps to give a greater awareness of day-to-day life at local, regional, national and world levels, emphasising the relationship between people and their environment. We feel that this equips pupils with vital understanding and skills that allows them to make a positive difference to their lives and those of others.
Geography students study issues as diverse as migration, plate tectonics, urban sprawl and various types of erosion. These and many other topics are synthesised within a number of overarching themes including sustainable development, positive attitudes to the physical and human environment and active, informed citizenship.
Geography is a compulsory subject up to the end of the Junior Certificate examination. The classes are non-streamed and of mixed ability. Students study the subject with a view to taking the higher level paper in the Junior Certificate examination. The Junior Cert course offers a great variety of subject matter, with the opportunity to develop a broad range of knowledge and skills. In physical geography, you learn about the earth’s surface and the workings of our life support system, atmosphere and climate. Under social geography, you examine issues of population, settlement patterns, and urbanisation. In economic geography, you will learn how there are different sectors in our economy and how inequalities emerge. Ordnance Survey map reading and interpretation of aerial photographs may be linked to any part of the course.
One of the primary aims of the syllabus is to make young people aware of developmental issues across the world. This relates to relevant topics and issues that we face today such as globalization, climate change, poverty and development to name a few. The course is designed to be stimulating and engaging, encouraging independent research and using a range of enquiry methods to learn about particular topics. It aims to broaden horizons of key issues whilst preparing pupils for the challenge that Leaving Certificate Geography offers.
Our transition year programme is divided into three 10 week modules. The three modules are:
• Marine Environment – Aral sea, Booterstown Marsh
• Development Education – Global Goals, Aid, Debt, Sustainable Development
• Urban Studies – Urbanisation, Urban Problems/solutions, Planning cities of the future
Leaving Certificate geography may be studied at Ordinary or Higher level. The course is divided into core, elective and optional units of study. Students are expected to develop important geographical skills as they study these units. The subject will help students develop an understanding of the changing relationships between the physical and human worlds. Through their study of geography, students will develop geographical skills that will help them to make informed judgements about issues at local, national and international levels. Students will study physical geography, regional geography, patterns and processes in the Human Environment and Geoecology
Students have ample opportunity to acquire the practical skills of a geographer in observing, presenting and interpreting evidence from a wide variety of sources. A one day field trip to Glendalough in Co. Wicklow takes place each year to allow for the preparation of the geographical investigation 20% of the total examination marks.
The department endeavours to promote among students a keen awareness of the environment which surrounds them at both local and national level. Students are regularly encouraged to undertake fieldwork, enter project and literary competitions which deal with such topics as global economic inequalities, environmental issues and sustainable development.
1st Year field trip to Loughshinny
2nd Year trip to Butlers Chocolate Factory
3rd Year trip to Irish Aid
4th Year trips to Booterstown Marsh, Shankill Beach
5th/6th River Investigation, Glendalough, Co. Wicklow.