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January 16, 2003
The facts of global citizenry

Michael Jennings quotes from this Telegraph story:

Eighty-six per cent said it was now more important to teach about environmental issues while 80 per cent agreed that "geography should teach pupils to respect and reconnect with nature". Many teachers went further. Two thirds thought that teaching about "sustainable lifestyles" and the pupils' roles as "global citizens" was more important than teaching basic skills such as reading maps.

I've posted the most pungent thing Jennings has to say about the notion of "sustainable development" over at Samizdata, as the slogan of the day. As for map-reading, he responds with, in part, this:

if we want our children to grow up to be good world citizens, there are few better things to give them than good geography lessons. Give people maps to look at and study, and the names of countries and their capitals and other cities to memorise, and explain why cities have grown where they are, and what languages are spoken, and how all these facts interrelate with each other, and children will slowly get a sense that the world and human culture is bigger and more complex and more extraordinary than can be understood from a few years of life in one town or country. Look at a few maps, and start asking questions, and suddenly the whole world jumps out at you. In short, a very traditional way of studying geography is a very good aid for people in figuring out their own values and attitudes.

Agreed. How can you think globally if you don't know what the globe actually consists of?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 09:21 PM
Category: The curriculum
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