Why is Geography Important? • It is an essential intellectual building block for understanding world affairs. • Now more than ever, geographic literacy is necessary for us to understand global events.
Geographic Illiteracy • Most Americans could be considered geographically illiterate. • Indeed, educated Americans tend to have less global awareness than educated people in other more developed countries (MDC) of the world.
Results of the National Geographic (Roper) Survey of 2002 - For Europe Countries on quiz: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Rep., England, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and Spain.
Results of the National Geographic (Roper) Survey of 2002 - For Middle East/Asia Countries on quiz: Afghanistan, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia.
Results of the National Geographic (Roper) Survey of 2002-Population
Results of the National Geographic (Roper) Survey of 2002-Overall
Results of the National Geographic (Roper) Survey of 2002-Travel Experience
The Dangers of Geographic Illiteracy Geographically illiterate individuals cannot make informed decisions about : • Their own economic and social opportunities (housing, jobs, flood risk, etc.). • Their local government’s policies towards the environment or social issues. • The federal government’s policies towards the environment, social issues, or foreign affairs. Being geographically illiterate also limits an individual’s ability to enjoy the diversity and opportunities that the planet offers (especially with regard to travel, or new cultural experiences).
Parents should inform children about the importance of geography in everyday lives. Furthermore, they could play geography games as a family. • If possible, parents should travel more often with their children and discuss the patterns they see while they travel. In other words, make the journey as important as the destination. • K-12 teachers should make the subject of geography more interesting to students. It should also be taught at more grade levels. • School administrations should assign geography a more important role in the education process. • Colleges and universities should also increase the importance of geography in the general education of students. Promoting Geographic Awareness
Definitions of World Geography? • The study of the unique combinations of environmental and human factors that produce territories with distinctive landscapes and cultural attributes. • The study of the spatial textures created by land and people. • It focuses on areas of Earth that have some degree of homogeneity. Regions may be basically physical, human or some combination of both and may vary in size from continents to small ecosystems.
Problems Teaching World Geography • Textbooks tend to emphasize a regional approach. This can be useful, but care should taken to emphasize cross-regional linkages. • Most textbooks of world geography fail to cover each region in a consistent manner. This tends to emphasize regional differences more than regional commonalities. • Most textbooks fail to incorporate an historical approach to geographic understanding. They are static. • Textbooks tend to be “Eurocentric” in their approach.
Sample Table of Contents Realms, Regions and Concepts by Harm de Blij 1. Europe. 2. Russia. 3. North America. 4. Middle America. 5. South America. 6. North Africa/Southwest Asia. 7. Subsaharan Africa. 8. South Asia. 9. East Asia. 10. Southeast Asia. 11. The Austral Realm. 12. The Pacific Realm.
Sample Table of Contents Diversity Amid Globalization by Rowntree et al. 1. Diversity and Globalization. 2. The Changing Global Environment. 3. North America. 4. Latin America. 5. The Caribbean. 6. Sub-Saharan Africa. 7. North Africa/Southwest Asia. 8. Europe. 9. The Russian Domain. 10. Central Asia. 11. East Asia. 12. South Asia. 13. Southeast Asia. 14. Australia and Oceania.
Sample Table of Contents World Regions in a Global Context by Marston et al. 1. A World of Regions. 2. The Foundations of World Regions. 3. Europe. 4. The Russian Federation, Central Asia, and the Transcaucasus. 5. The Middle East and North Africa. 6. Sub-Saharan Africa. 7. North America. 8. Latin America and the Caribbean. 9. East Asia. 10. Southeast Asia. 11. South Asia. 12. Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. 13. Future Regional Geography.
Advantage and Disadvantage of the Regional Approach • Disadvantage – It interferes with cross-regional linkages. • Advantage – It helps students understand the planet by breaking it into smaller, more manageable compartments.
Advantage and Disadvantage of Starting with Europe • Disadvantage – It can be considered “Euro-centric.” • Advantage – It recognizes the strong economic and political influence of this region for the last 500 years. This helps explain many current global patterns.
Carl Sauer Noted American Geographer, 1889-1975. He developed a “a chronological approach to the study of culture traits (cultural geography).” He was emphatic that an historical approach was crucial to understanding geography. His method is known as the “Sauer Tradition” of geography.
My Approach to World Geography One Chapter Covering each Region Each Chapter Follows this Format • Introductory Comments about the Region • Physiographic Setting • Climate and Natural Vegetation • Environmental Hazards • Historical Geography (settlement history, key events, and “historic layering”). • Ethnicity and Language • Religion • Agriculture • Natural Resources • Industry and Commerce • Geopolitical Issues
Suggestions for Incorporating Geography into History Instruction • Make certain students become familiar with the location of key regions and countries. • Teach students the basic principles of geography (five themes: location, place, human-environment interaction, movement, regions). • Have students complete Internet research that involves websites from other countries. • Have students send emails to students from other countries or participate in online chat rooms with individuals elsewhere in the world. • Encourage students to travel (within the United States and abroad).
The Marriage of Geography and History • History should be taught using a strong geographic component. Students should learn about the chronology of human society across geographic space. World (or regional) geography should be taught with a strong historical component. Students should learn about changes in geographic space through time.
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