Wednesday, August 28, 2013

American and Brits Are Really Bad at Geography Because Geo-Literacy's Roots Lie Deeper than Education Policy

Earlier this week Seth Dixon's Geography Education featured this Jay Leno gem showing how bad American youth are at geography.

Then South Africa's Times Live featured an article on how ignorant Brits are with geography:
According to The Times (the one they publish in London) more than half of a sample of British tourists were mildly surprised to discover that Cyprus was not part of mainland Greece. This sample of British holidaymakers had one thing in common: they had all recently been to Cyprus. 
The same survey found that 49% of Brits thought Turkey was where mapmakers insist the Ukraine belongs, and almost a third pointed at France when asked to locate Greece on a map of Europe.
One of the reason I no longer support petitions to "get Congress to pass the X geography is important bill" is twofold: 1) education has proven impossible to dictate by federal fiat 2) because the problem of geo-literacy is a cultural problem.  Geography's professional/economic value is poorly realized and the West's heavy emphasis on on indoor-technological-individualism is causing whole generations to grow up without scouting, roaming, traditional stories, genealogies, and other experiences which teach children to understand the outdoors and other lands.  Until people (and geographers) start focusing on the outdoors, other lands, and peoples' origins we will never have geo-literacy.  So do the world a favor:  teach.  Share the joys of learning about the world.  Go camping.  Tell somehow about the constellations or what various cloud formations mean.  We are blind to our own Earth.  Change will start from the ground and work its way up, not from federal government on down.

1 comment:

Dina said...

Beautifully said! I so agree with you.
The video is shocking.
I think some of the American men planning a strike on Damascus right now do not know how close the city is to Israel. God help us all.