Monday, May 7, 2012

Geography lost amid emphasis on other subjects

From 22 News: Geography lost amid emphasis on other subjects
BOSTON (WWLP) - How well do you know your geography? Some students say schools don't teach it nearly enough.

With the Internet and social media, teachers and many students say our world is increasingly becoming smaller, so we should know something about it.

As part of the EarthView Project , educators are touring schools throughout the state, giving thousands of students, mainly in grades 4 to 8, the opportunity to learn about geography from inside a giant model of the Earth. Educators brought their project to the State House where they urged lawmakers to pass legislation to increase geography instruction in primary and secondary schools.

EarthView team members say students from poorer countries, like Mexico, typically score higher on geography tests than students in the U.S.

Quabbin Middle School student Zoe Bates agrees that there needs to be more instruction. “In Massachusetts we need people to know more about their geography, we need to put more of an emphasis on it,” Bates said.

Quabbin Middle School teacher Dorothy Verheyen Cudjoe says that despite geography’s importance, it is often lost with the greater focus on other subjects. “Because we really have an emphasis on science, math and language, so we're here as those people who love geography and love our social sciences, social studies, to promote that.”

Teachers and students say geography is important in understanding the world and our social, economic and political place within it. A 2006 National Geographic study found that two-thirds of Americans aged 18 to 24 could not find Iraq on a map. Another half could not find New York.

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