Geography in Schools

Discussion in 'General Education' started by TeachTN, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. TeachTN

    TeachTN Comrade

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    Mar 12, 2013

    Does your district still offer a stand-alone course in Geography? Is your state or district considering getting rid of Geography as a stand-alone course? Right now TN has Geography on its own, but is moving towards teaching it within History classes. I'm definitely against this, I mean, how do you teach Geography in an early Western Civilization course when the maps are COMPLETELY different? It would be pertinent to U.S. History classes, but there is already so much content to learn already.

    I'm studying this topic for a proposal in one of my grad courses, since I am very passionate about it, and just wonder if this is going on elsewhere.

    BTW, this video alone is why we need to teach geography in school: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cey35bBWXls
     
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  3. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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  4. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    Mar 12, 2013

    We still teach Geography. In fact, for graduation, our students need to take one Grade 12 "World" course - Geo, History, etc.

    For us, though, it's not just teaching maps. Our students learn about water systems, how slave labour is used for the production of certain commodities (like chocolate), child soldiering, and the North/South divide among many, many other things. My SO teaches Grade 12 Geo and he always begins his course by being clear that if they are expecting to only have to memorize maps, they're in for a rude awakening.
     
  5. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    Our social studies standards were rewritten last year.

    6th grade--Western Hemisphere geography

    7th grade--Eastern Hemisphere geography (this used to be the year that geography was taught). This is a test subject.

    High school--World Geography.
     
  6. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    In California, 9th graders take geography, 10th graders take world history, and 11th graders take US history.
     
  7. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    In my district it is not taught stand alone. In other districts in my state, it is offered in either 8th or 9th grade.
     
  8. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    It has been a stand alone course forever until next year, when it is being eliminated (curriculum steamlining) and being "incorporated" into history. I'm not sure how I feel yet... I will find out next year I suppose. It wasn't mandatory before though, so some kids got World Geography but skipped World History, wheras some kids got World History but skipped World Geography. I pushed to mandate both, but lost that fight.
     
  9. Ms B IL

    Ms B IL Rookie

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    Mar 13, 2013

    I'm not sure how it is now, but I went to school in Oregon. I never had a separate geography course. Then again, all of our social studies courses were integrated in grades 6-9, then we took a year of US History, one semester of government, and one semester of economics. Even the year of US History I took was mostly integrated with other subjects. I never really had a "just" history course until I took AP History my senior year.
     
  10. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    We used to teach a stand alone geography class, but our US history teachers were having trouble teaching all of history in one year. So, our geography course became 1/3 of the year, US history 1/3 and constitution 1/3.
     
  11. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    Mar 13, 2013

    We used to require Geography as a 1/2 year sophomore class, but eliminated it a few years ago and replaced it with a current events course. We are considering bringing it back as more of a "Global Issues" class--similar to what Shanoo describes. It would be offered as a junior/senior elective.
     
  12. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    As a history teacher I completely loathe the existence of Geography as a stand-alone course. My district has not offered/required in over a decade but is considering bringing it back because "AP world scores are not high enough."

    So yes, lets add a worthless requirement for 95% of students because 30% of the AP World class is failing.
     
  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    I took Geography as a freshman in high school. It is currently still a requirement for graduation.
     
  14. TeachTN

    TeachTN Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2013

    Thank you so much for your information.

    Rockguykev - why do you not like the idea of Geography as a stand alone subject? I had the pleasure of teaching it, although only as an interim assignment, and really loved it. I never had the students focus on the maps alone, but I had the opportunity to teach the students about cultures in other parts of the world. With all that is required to be taught in a History course, be it U.S. or World History, there is not a lot of room to teach this information.

    Since we are such a globalized society now, even more so with the internet, it makes sense that students should understand various cultures around the world, as well as where countries are situated.

    While working on my undergrad, I worked in a department on campus where students took geography tests; there were students who could not label Russia, China, or Australia properly. I understand mixing up Jordan and Israel when working on an Asia map, but Russia???

    Presently, at least in my district, in 9th grade students can take Geography or World History (I think 1500-present). There is also an AP Human Geography option. The state should be issuing the final standards soon to allow for comments.
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    Mar 14, 2013

    Why?
     
  16. geoteacher

    geoteacher Cohort

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    We teach it as a stand-alone world studies class - elements of both physical and cultural geography.
     
  17. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    <<there were students who could not label Russia, China, or Australia properly. I understand mixing up Jordan and Israel when working on an Asia map, but Russia??? >>

    I do not see why being able to label points on a map is relevant when literally every kid in my class carries a map in their pocket. When our students are trying to compete by taking multiple AP classes and the like adding in yet another requirement to high school seems rather silly to me.
     
  18. Eurydike

    Eurydike Rookie

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    I actually can't even remember if I took that course in school or not. I think I might have taken it in middle school but I'm not sure. That being said, some people could seriously use that course. I had a college roommate who couldn't name a single country in Latin America besides Brazil and Chile. She didn't know Guatemala or El Salvador were countries.
     
  19. geoteacher

    geoteacher Cohort

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    Mar 14, 2013

    Now you have my attention. Do you really think that geography is just labeling places on a map? Because it is so much more. So much of history was influenced by geography. Looking at today and to the future, businesses, communities, schools, etc. all use GIS to map and plan things that will affect all of our lives. Although I do have my students do some mapping, I would agree that it is not necessary to know where every little country in the world is located. However, it is useful to at least be able to understand what region something might be found in. So much about our lives is determined by our location. ... and now I'll step down off my soapbox:)
     
  20. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Mar 15, 2013

    I agree with you completely but you have to agree that 99% of people who argue that we need to teach geography do so by saying "They don't even know where X is!!!" I took one geography course in college and literally all we did was memorize the world map.

    Geography should be taught in context with history. I teach geography in every single unit of World History I teach. Removing it from the context of history is silly. I might as well teach a year of inventions, right?
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I could see a well-taught geography course making a first-rate foundation for high-school history coursework - and a good historical atlas is one of my tools of choice to engage people who've always thought they hated history.
     

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