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Why is Geography Important


Now more than ever, geographic literacy is necessary for us to understand global ... Results of the National Geographic (Roper) Survey of 2002 - For Europe ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Why is Geography Important

Why is Geography Important?
  • It is an essential intellectual building block
    for understanding world affairs.
  • Now more than ever, geographic literacy is
    necessary for us to understand global events.

Geographic Illiteracy
  • Most Americans could be considered geographically
  • Indeed, educated Americans tend to have less
    global awareness than educated people in other
    more developed countries (MDC) of the world.

Results of the National Geographic (Roper) Survey
of 2002 - For Europe
Countries on quiz Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Rep.,
England, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy,
Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and Spain.
Results of the National Geographic (Roper) Survey
of 2002 - For Middle East/Asia
Countries on quiz Afghanistan, China, India,
Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Pakistan,
Russia, Saudi Arabia.
Results of the National Geographic (Roper) Survey
of 2002-States
Results of the National Geographic (Roper) Survey
of 2002-Population
Results of the National Geographic (Roper) Survey
of 2002-Overall
Results of the National Geographic (Roper) Survey
of 2002-Travel Experience
The Dangers of Geographic Illiteracy
Geographically illiterate individuals cannot make
informed decisions about
  • Their own economic and social opportunities
    (housing, jobs, flood risk, etc.).
  • Their local governments policies towards the
    environment or social issues.
  • The federal governments policies towards the
    environment, social issues, or foreign affairs.

Being geographically illiterate also limits an
individuals ability to enjoy the diversity and
opportunities that the planet offers (especially
with regard to travel, or new cultural
Promoting Geographic Awareness
  • Parents should inform children about the
    importance of geography in everyday lives.
    Furthermore, they could play geography games as a
  • If possible, parents should travel more often
    with their children and discuss the patterns they
    see while they travel. In other words, make the
    journey as important as the destination.
  • K-12 teachers should make the subject of
    geography more interesting to students. It
    should also be taught at more grade levels.
  • School administrations should assign geography a
    more important role in the education process.
  • Colleges and universities should also increase
    the importance of geography in the general
    education of students.

Definitions of World Geography?
  • The study of the unique combinations of
    environmental and human factors that produce
    territories with distinctive landscapes and
    cultural attributes.
  • The study of the spatial textures created by land
    and people.
  • It focuses on areas of Earth that have some
    degree of homogeneity.  Regions may be basically
    physical, human or some combination of both and
    may vary in size from continents to small

Problems Teaching World Geography
  • Textbooks tend to emphasize a regional approach.
    This can be useful, but care should taken to
    emphasize cross-regional linkages.
  • Most textbooks of world geography fail to cover
    each region in a consistent manner. This tends
    to emphasize regional differences more than
    regional commonalities.
  • Most textbooks fail to incorporate an historical
    approach to geographic understanding. They are
  • Textbooks tend to be Eurocentric in their

Sample Table of Contents
Realms, Regions and Concepts by Harm de Blij
1. Europe. 2. Russia. 3. North America. 4.
Middle America. 5. South America. 6. North
Africa/Southwest Asia. 7. Subsaharan Africa. 8.
South Asia. 9. East Asia. 10. Southeast Asia.
11. The Austral Realm. 12. The Pacific Realm.
Sample Table of Contents
Diversity Amid Globalization by Rowntree et al.
1. Diversity and Globalization. 2. The Changing
Global Environment. 3. North America. 4. Latin
America. 5. The Caribbean. 6. Sub-Saharan
Africa. 7. North Africa/Southwest Asia. 8.
Europe. 9. The Russian Domain. 10. Central
Asia. 11. East Asia. 12. South Asia. 13.
Southeast Asia. 14. Australia and Oceania.
Sample Table of Contents
World Regions in a Global Context by Marston et
1. A World of Regions. 2. The Foundations of
World Regions. 3. Europe. 4. The Russian
Federation, Central Asia, and the Transcaucasus.
5. The Middle East and North Africa. 6.
Sub-Saharan Africa. 7. North America. 8. Latin
America and the Caribbean. 9. East Asia. 10.
Southeast Asia. 11. South Asia. 12. Australia,
New Zealand, and the South Pacific. 13. Future
Regional Geography.
Advantage and Disadvantage of the Regional
  • Disadvantage It interferes with cross-regional
  • Advantage It helps students understand the
    planet by breaking it into smaller, more
    manageable compartments.

Advantage and Disadvantage of Starting with Europe
  • Disadvantage It can be considered
  • Advantage It recognizes the strong economic and
    political influence of this region for the last
    500 years. This helps explain many current
    global patterns.

Carl Sauer
Noted American Geographer, 1889-1975.
  • He developed a a chronological approach to the
    study of culture traits (cultural geography).
  • He was emphatic that an historical approach was
    crucial to understanding geography.
  • His method is known as the Sauer Tradition of

My Approach to World Geography
One Chapter Covering each Region Each Chapter
Follows this Format
  • Introductory Comments about the Region
  • Physiographic Setting
  • Climate and Natural Vegetation
  • Environmental Hazards
  • Historical Geography (settlement history, key
    events, and historic layering).
  • Ethnicity and Language
  • Religion
  • Agriculture
  • Natural Resources
  • Industry and Commerce
  • Geopolitical Issues

Suggestions for Incorporating Geography into
History Instruction
  • Make certain students become familiar with the
    location of key regions and countries.
  • Teach students the basic principles of geography
    (five themes location, place, human-environment
    interaction, movement, regions).
  • Have students complete Internet research that
    involves websites from other countries.
  • Have students send emails to students from other
    countries or participate in online chat rooms
    with individuals elsewhere in the world.
  • Encourage students to travel (within the United
    States and abroad).

The Marriage of Geography and History
  • History should be taught using a strong
    geographic component. Students should learn
    about the chronology of human society across
    geographic space.

World (or regional) geography should be taught
with a strong historical component. Students
should learn about changes in geographic space
through time.
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