An Interview With A Geography Teacher - Dan Cropper


i-studentglobal spoke to Dan Cropper, a geography teacher at Fallibroome Academy, located outside of Macclesfield in the north of the UK. Dan studied Geography at University of Manchester and completed his PGCE at Manchester Metropolitan University.

How did you first get into geography?

I enjoyed Geography lessons at school and found that I seemed to do well at it so continued with at GCSE and then A Level. I really enjoyed learning about different places around the world but also the fact that, particularly when it comes to human and environmental geography, the discipline seemed to be based around the desire to improve the world we live in for all. A classic subject rivalry at school is between Geography and History (both are fantastic subjects) and I found myself preferring the fact that Geography looks to the future whereas History looks to the past (though I definitely acknowledge how important it is to learn from the past!).

What area of geography do you find the most interesting?

Whilst at school and university, I was drawn more towards human geography - globalisation, population, development etc., because it seemed as though that was the part of the subject that was more concerned with "making progress" as opposed to physical geography which was more "how stuff works". At university, all of the modules I could choose were human geography and I became really fascinated by the part of geography that draws a lot of influence from sociology, anthropology and even psychology. My dissertation was concerned with how listening to music on portable devices can change the way you perceive an environment as you travel through it. However, since being a teacher, I have had to teach the whole spectrum and have really enjoyed revisiting and learning more about physical geography topics such as rivers, coasts and glacial environments. Indeed, one of my favourite things to do these days is to go off to the countryside for a walk and marvel at the magnificent scenery we are blessed with on these little islands we call home.

Do your friends see you as an expert when country questions come up in pub quizzes?

I imagine that a lot of the onus would be put on me, yes. But some of my friends could certainly contribute too. I do enjoy questions about countries, capitals and flags but I definitely don't know everything. African and Asian countries are my weakness.

What made you decide to study geography in Manchester?

As I said, I enjoyed Geography at school and did well at it so chose that as my subject at university. I chose Manchester simply because I got an amazing vibe when I was there. Wasn't anything to do with the course or stuff like that - I knew that it would be great at a university as esteemed as that - so I just went on how I felt there during the open day. The fact that I support Manchester United and love music also helped. The music scene in Manchester was a big pull.

Did you have a lot of options with your course or was it quite rigid?

The first year was pretty rigid in that we had to do a range of modules across the discipline. However, beyond that, we could choose from a good range of modules in second and third year, as well as choose the location for the second-year field trip we went on and our dissertation title. I went to the Czech Republic (which was my second choice after New York) and had a brilliant time. I think that other people went to Cuba, Crete, possibly Morocco and Ireland.