Archive for the 'Why Geography Matters' Category

A new textbook for Environmental Studies

A new textbook entitled Environmental Education – Malta and Beyond, edited by Mr George Said Zammit, has been published. It provides students and teachers with a resource from which to get the most out of Environmental Studies as offered in schools.

It follows the requirements of the Environmental Studies SEC 13 syllabus.

The book is written for students of average and above average ability and encourages both students and teachers to address the wider environmental issues of the 21st century.

The book, whose authors are experienced practising teachers, follows the specifications of the syllabus closely, covering the six themes: The World-Our Home, Management of Resources, Human Resources, Human Population, Human Communities, Work and Leisure and Managing a Nation.

Contemporary issues such as climate change, biodiversity, renewable sources of energy, waste and water management, housing, health services, transport, heritage, the economy and work in Malta are also covered.

This textbook provides clear and precise information, facts and case studies; well-explained concepts and current issues; full colour photos, maps and diagrams to help illustrate points; a bright and colourful layout; coverage of the three-year course; a clear explanation of geographical processes; ideas for the practical component of the exam; an easy-to-follow format, with difficult words explained in the glossary and a list of related references and websites.

Geography Matters!

Geography matters for it deals with the natural and human changes occurring around us. Geography matters for it deals with the present and helps us to prepare for the future.  Geography matters for it is important for quite a number of occupations but essential for the discerning tourist who really wants to make the most of his experiences abroad. Geography matters for it is about our world so Geography should retain its place in the curriculum without any cuts in lesson allocation.

Download this Microsoft PowePoint Presentation by David |Rayner on why Geography should be a compulsory component in the school curriculum. Download here.

Why Geography Education Matters

 Joseph Kerski, education manager for Esri and 2011 president of the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE), passionately believes in the importance of geography in the curriculum. “Geography enables students to understand their world locally to globally, make wise decisions about the planet and its resources, and become critical thinkers,” said Kerski. “Geography grapples with the key issues of our time—energy, water, biodiversity, climate, natural hazards, population, and much more.” In the following essay, Kerski explains why geography plays such a pivotal rule in education.

Geographic questions begin with the whys of where. Why are cities, ecoregions, and earthquakes located where they are, and how are they affected by their proximity to nearby things and also by invisible global interconnections and networks?

After asking geographic questions, students acquire geographic resources. They collect data such as maps, satellite imagery, and spreadsheets from their own fieldwork. They analyze this geographic data and understand relationships across time and space.

Geographic investigations are often value laden and involve critical-thinking skills. For example, after examining a map of cotton production in the USA, students investigate the relationship between latitude, altitude, climate, land use, and cotton production. After discovering much cotton is grown in dry regions that must be irrigated, students can then ask “Why is cotton grown in these dry areas? Should cotton be grown in these dry areas? Is that the best use of water and other natural resources?”

Finally, students present the results of their investigations using geographic tools such as web GIS and desktop geographic information systems. Their investigations usually spark additional questions, and the resultant cycle is the essence of geographic investigation.

Students study geography to understand that the earth is changing. Then they scientifically and analytically think about why it is changing. And they even dig deeper than that. Should the earth be changing in these ways? Is there anything that I can do about it or that I should be doing about it? This not only captures the heart of spatial thinking—inquiry and problem-based learning—but also empowers students to become decision makers, to make a difference in this changing world of ours.

Geography therefore is not simply just a “nice to have” subject for an already-crowded educational curriculum. It underpins, in my view, the critical-thinking skills, technology skills, citizen skills, and life skills that underpin all other disciplines. It is essential for grappling with the essential issues of our time.

Related Video

Why Geography Education Matters video.

Why Geography Matters

Geography is a subject that studies the environment as the home of people. It seeks to explore how environments emerge by natural processes, how societies produce, organise, use and misuse environments, and how societies themselves are influenced by the environments in which they are located. Thus, geography studies the relationships and connections between people and environments, focusing on space, places, and regions, addressing and questioning both short-term and longer-term processes and their resultant patterns. In other words geographers ask where things are located on the surface of the Earth, why they are located where they are, how places differ from one another, and how people interact with the environment.  In fact a major concern of all geographical studies is the relationship of humanity to environments at a variety of levels from the local to the global with particular focus on how such interactions can be managed and improved in a sustainable way. Geographers were, in fact among the first scientists to sound the alarm that human induced changes to the environment were beginning to threaten the balance of life itself. In this connection, geography involves the study of contemporary issues of sustainability such as climate change, disappearing biodiversity and the depletion of natural resources. Geography provides us with a distinctive set of skills and tools with which to explore environments and people particularly those associated with mapping and other forms of graphicacy.

Geography as a discipline enables us to understand the Earth we are living in from a spatial perspective. As a school subject it stimulates students’ interest in and a sense of wonder about people, places and environments. Moreover, geography enables students to explore and understand the relationship between human beings and the Earth. It provides also the essential background knowledge for the understanding of many important local and global issues such as climate change, availability of water resources and urban problems and how these could be resolved and manages in a sustainable manner.  Geography makes both a distinctive and a wider contribution to the curriculum.  It is an essential component in preparing young people for life in the twenty-first century. As the pace of change quickens, communications get faster and challenges to the environment multiply, a knowledge and understanding of geography is more vital than ever. 

Geographical education is indispensable to the development of responsible and active citizens in the present and future world.  Geography can be an informing and stimulating subject at all levels in education, and contributes to a lifelong enjoyment and understanding of our world.  Learners require global geographical awareness in order to ensure effective cooperation on a broad range of economic, political, cultural and environmental issues in a shrinking world. 

The main aim of this website is to bring together teachers of geography on a single platform, through which they can share good practices and resources in order to be able to make geography teaching and learning an enjoyable, creative and stimulating experience for our students. On this site one can access the latest documentation issued by the geography section within the CMeLD about new curricula, assessment reports, circulars, ideas for organising controlled assessment such as fieldwork and project work, links to other useful geographical sites and much more. Teachers who would like to contribute and share with us any of their resources are most welcome to do so. Our commitment will always be to make geography lessons fun.