Allan Hallett, Head of Geography
Allan Hallett is Head of Geography at Christ Church Grammar School.
He joined the School in 1984 as a teacher of Geography and Social Science and after six months was appointed Head of Social Science. Last year he became Head of Geography, which is in the Humanities Department.
At the start of his teaching career, Allan spent nine years working at government schools around Western Australia as a teacher of Social Science and as Head of Geography. Before joining Christ Church, he taught at Helston School in rural Cornwall. He said it was a fantastic experience, likening the school to a district high school.
Allan has since returned to the UK on two occasions to teach. In 1992, he took a year’s leave from Christ Church and taught at Carshalton High School for Girls in South London. Then in 1997, he went on a teacher exchange to Charterhouse School, one of the leading public schools in Britain. He said it was an incredible experience dealing with traditions that went back 400 years and was a huge contrast to Carshalton, which was essentially a housing estate school in working class London, where he occasionally saw episodes of the television programme ‘The Bill’ being filmed.
During his years at Christ Church, Allan has made a point of teaching across all years in the Senior School. This year, he is teaching Year 10, 11 and 12 Geography and Year 8 Social Science.
Allan believes Social Science is central to the School Mission: Boys Educated to Know, to Do, to Live with Others and to Be. “Social Science is extremely important in teaching boys how to live with others,” Allan explained. “It takes in important social issues that are critical to the boys’ learning and understanding of the world, although for a lot of boys, the relevance of Social Science is not always apparent until they leave school. It’s only when they have had their own world experiences that some of these things can be put into perspective.”
Allan has always been passionate about geography. “I was a geography nerd at 12 years of age,” he said. “When I wasn’t playing football I would sit in the attic reading geography information from bubble gum collectors’ cards. I still do the same thing, though now it’s called the CIA website!
“It’s really important for the boys to realise that geography is part of day-to-day life. I like to think that I, to a certain extent, can be a window to the world for them, a window to their future world. And when they do experience the world, they need to do is as geographers, not as tourists. They need to look for meaning in what they see.”
Allan’s involvement in geography extends well beyond the School. He has been President of the Geographical Association of Western Australia and Director of the Australian Geography Teachers’ Association. And in terms of professional development and curriculum development, he has had a long involvement with the Curriculum Council of WA and its syllabus committee.
“It’s about making sure I can help other people work in a system that achieves the aims I want for the boys,” Allen explained. “It’s a cliché, but kids can’t be citizens of the world unless they understand the world they live in and the world other people live in.”