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Lorraine Chaffer

Consultant for the Macmillan Global Atlas 5e

How long have you been in the education industry?
I taught Geography 7-10 in NSW public schools for 38 years. Since then I have been involved in Geography teacher education through the Geography Teachers Association of NSW & ACT as councillor, Vice President, President, Conference Convener and Editor of the Geography Bulletin. I have also contributed as an author to Geography Education Publications including online units of work, posters, textbooks and atlases.

How have you noticed your teaching style change over the years? Why do you think this is?
Teaching styles changed from being teacher-centric in the 1970s to a mix of teacher explicit teaching and individual, or group, student inquiry. Technology has become an essential component of teaching Geography, particularly the use of spatial technologies. 

What is the importance to you of good educational resources?
Good resources are the foundation for deep knowledge and understanding. They provide the groundwork from which further investigation and inquiry can develop and they should stimulate interest in a subject. This is true for teachers as well as for students.

What has been your favourite part of writing an education resource?
My favourite part has been finding or proposing stimulus materials such as maps, graphs, diagrams and photographs to develop conceptual understanding. 

What is your favourite part of being a teacher?
My favourite part is seeing a student ‘get it’ when they suddenly understand a concept or can demonstrate a skill or apply the knowledge they have learned to a new scenario.

What are three things people wouldn’t know about you?
I grew up on the far-north coast of NSW in a small village where my father was a professional prawn trawler fisherman. 

I have loved geography since my family was given a set of National Geographic magazines when I was 12 years old. They opened my mind to the amazing world we live in.

I live on the Central Coast of NSW between Sydney and Newcastle, where I continue to volunteer for GTANSW & ACT as Vice President, Conference Convener and Editor of the Geography Bulletin and develop new resources for teachers. 

What do you like to do when you’re not teaching (or writing)?

I love to travel, exercise and read books … often these are non-fiction books that expand my understanding.

Who are three people, living or dead, you’d love to have dinner with?
This could vary from one week to the next. At this point in time…David Attenborough for his knowledge of the natural world, Damon Gameau for his concern about a positive future for young people and regenerating Earth, Dalai Lama for his advice and insight into human behaviour.
What is your favourite book and why?
This changes each year depending on what I have read, the situation in the world and my personal physical and mental state.

Do you follow a sports team? Which one?
I don’t follow a sports team but do like to follow individuals, such as tennis players, throughout their careers. Roger Federer is a favourite.