Teaching Secondary School Social Studies

By James F. High | Go to book overview
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11
Teaching geography

Again and again we see the wisdom, even the vital necessity, of Man's entering into alliance with Nature instead of regarding himself as freed by his inventions from natural laws.

Land for Tomorrow L. DUDLEY STAMP, 1950


1. Introduction

There is little doubt that geographic knowledge is important. Most educators realize and agree that geography should be taught as part of the social studies. There is, however, considerable disagreement as to when and how this should be done. For a variety of reasons very little attention has been paid in the last twenty years or so to formal instruction in geography at any grade level. Unlike United States history which usually finds its way into the curriculum three or four times in the course of twelve years, geography may receive cursory treatment only once or perhaps not at all. Ordinarily some teaching in this subject is found in the later elementary grades, but it is rarely emphasized in junior or senior high school.

One answer might be to incorporate geography into every social study. Man's setting in the world must be taken into account in any study of his behavior or history. The various unified social studies programs purport to do this, and sometimes with a degree of success. Unfortunately, in many states geography as a college subject is not required of prospective teachers, and as a result they are often unequipped to carry out such a unified program. There is no substitute for knowledge of geography on the part of the teacher. If he does not learn in school, then his clear duty is to teach himself after he becomes a teacher. In California, for instance, geography as a part of elementary teacher training, is a clear requirement by law.

The student as he enters secondary school is psychologically adapted

-315-

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