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Yawning Sixth Formers: An action research project examining how we can move beyond passive learning in sixth form teaching of case studies in urban management

Keith A J Hicks

Secondary PGCE (Geography) 2009


This research examines how active learning can be incorporated into A-level geography teaching. It was identified that the teaching of case studies often relied on passive teaching strategies. An action research approach was taken using an AS-level geography class learning about urban management theory and case studies. Five lessons were taught using various active learning activities. Data was then collected through lesson observations, students work and focus groups. This allowed ideas to refined, developed and examined.

Many of the active learning activities conducted highlighted the individual nature of student learning. Some students were seen to be more suited to it than other. A key element identified in active learning and post 16 education is the shift in responsibility towards the learner. Again differences were seen with some pupils embracing this while others did not.

Finally the role of passive learning is considered in this research. Evidence existed that learning still took place and was at times necessary to construct knowledge and understanding.

This research has implications for practice at not only post-16 education but also the wider geography teaching. Geography teachers should consider what balance is needed between active and passive learning.

Copyright: © 2010. This paper is copyright of the author. (Please read the Journal's copyright information page by using the menu to the left of this page.)

The full paper is available for download as a pdf file 153-194-hicksk

Hicks, K.A.J (2010) Yawning Sixth Formers: An action research project examining how we can move beyond passive Learning in Sixth form teaching of case studies in urban managementJournal of Trainee Teacher Research,Volume 1, pp. 153-194. (Downloaded from, [date of access])