Friday, December 03, 2010

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Does Not Like America's Geography Standards (But His Own Are Not as Good as Believed)

The long-running, stereotype of Americans not being geographically literate has been discussed on this blog before.  Many Americans do lack critical knowledge of not only the world but also spatial reasoning.  This has been the point of many jokes both within America and around the world.  Now it has become a (albeit minor) part of global diplomacy.  While on a trip to Central Asia, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, is quoted to have told foreign businessmen that Americans do not know geography while Britain had the best geography teachers in the world.

While I too have been impressed by geography in education it may not be as good as Andrew believes.  For example, a 2008 ESRI (UK) geographic literacy survey of British found
A study to raise awareness of geography found that two thirds of people (65%) mistakenly believe Britain is made up of four countries, rather than the correct three: England, Scotland and Wales.

Half of the 2,000 people surveyed (51%) wrongly believe English is the most spoken language in the world, as opposed to Mandarin Chinese. And one in 10 think Everest is Britain's highest mountain.
Struggling with the "how many countries" question, 6% said Britain was made up of five countries, 3% thought one and 2% chose two.
Yet asked what profession they would most like to be out of list of six, 23% of respondents said explorer, compared with doctor (22%), painter (16%), teacher (15%), journalist (14%) and banker (11%).


smeeko said...

I think you meant: "not being geographically Literate".
Take care

Catholicgauze said...

Me no good at English? Problem fixed. Thanks!

Lee Kindness said...

Come now; the UK is composed of four constituent countries. I'm unsure if that survey is hung up on Northern Ireland as a "Provence" or "England and Wales". But the ground facts cannot be disputed (legal systems, parliaments/assemblies, education systems, ...) - the UK is made up of four countries.

Lee Kindness said...

Or is it even worse that it's a trick question; focussing on an ambiguous description of the island of Great Britain with the common name of the country (Britain vs United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)

Catholicgauze said...

The quiz was for UKers. It implies UKers do not know the difference between the island Great Britain and the country United Kingdom. They should know.