"Geography is not a narrow academic subject for the few. It is fundamental for everyone. It starts very early, when a young child encounters and begins to discover the world. Geography can nourish and enrich a whole lifetime of learning."
(A Different View, GA 2009)
Top 10 Reasons to Study Geography
- To understand basic physical systems that affect everyday life (e.g. earth-sun relationships, water cycles, wind and ocean currents).
- To learn the location of places and the physical and cultural characteristics of those places in order to function more effectively in our increasingly interdependent world.
- To understand the geography of past times and how geography has played important roles in the evolution of people, their ideas, places and environments.
- To develop a mental map of your community, province or territory, country and the world so that you can understand the “where” of places and events.
- To explain how the processes of human and physical systems have arranged and sometimes changed the surface of the Earth.
- To understand the spatial organisation of society and see order in what often appears to be random scattering of people and places.
- To recognise spatial distributions at all scales — local and worldwide — in order to understand the complex connectivity of people and places.
- To be able to make sensible judgements about matters involving relationships between the physical environment and society.
- To appreciate Earth as the homeland of humankind and provide insight for wise management decisions about how the planet’s resources should be used.
- To understand global interdependence and to become a better global citizen.
The Importance of Learning Outside The Classroom
Geography fieldwork is a vital part of nurturing a passion for the subject. It should probably be seen in the broader concept of learning outside the classroom. It should not be about a once a year school trip, but about frequent, continuous and progressive opportunities to learn outside the classroom that build on knowledge and skills gained during previous experiences both inside and outside the classroom. It has been argued (Herrick 2010) that teaching in ‘the field’ might foster the ‘experiential’ or ‘active’ learning needed to inspire the kind of ‘deep learning’ approaches that hold the kind of ‘trans-formative’ potential envisaged as a key goal of education. From personal experience as an undergraduate and also as a fieldwork Tutor I have seen from my own experience the importance of making field work a priority. It is important however, that this fieldwork is planned well beforehand and also followed up back in class. This approach has been found to make the effort of studying in the field more profitable.
Herrick, C. (2010), Lost in the field: ensuring student learning in the ‘threatened’ geography fieldtrip. Area, 42: 108–116.
Geography Curriculum Drivers
Planning and development at the school level is often shaped by wider constraints. The figure shows how school curriculum drivers help to development activities and fit into a wider context. It is important that whole school development priorities are also reflected in the curriculum each year so that school improvement takes on a more holistic dynamic.