"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Teaching geography, and Africa

Did you ever have to take blank map quizzes when in school? I did, including filling in countries and capitals, and states and capitals--in junior high.
That gave me a sense of where I was in the world, and also probably spurred my wanderlust. That, along with the fact that Dad always had maps pinned to the walls and we subscribed to the National Geographic.
When I started teaching International Media a few years ago, I was astounded at the lack world knowledge of my upper level college students. Especially after one student identified England as Germany. So I instituted blank map quizzes--continent by continent and regions. No, they don't have to know all of the countries, but we discuss those that they should know, based on current events, news, and media significance. 
I know, I know, that is old-fashioned rote memory. There is still room for it in "modern" politically correct, buzz-word, acronym dominated trendy education. I'm a geezer who tries to stay current with technology and trends, and pretty much a non-traditional teacher. But there still needs to be some basic memorized stuff.
So far, they've done well this semester, and we've covered the Mideast,  South America, SE Asia, Asia and Europe. Coming up is Africa, and I'm trying to instill in them the size of Africa as well. You can follow all of this on the class blog, Clarkinternational.
And here's the study guide on the blog today. Did you realize the Sahara is bigger than the U.S?


Africa is really, really big
The Sahara is bigger than the U.S.

2 comments:

  1. In Poland each student at secondary school has to know all countries in Europe, Asia, Africa na South and North America. It is the most difficult test on Geography lessons...As I know in all European countries students have to study it..

    ReplyDelete