Thursday, 21 January 2016

Does this matter?

I just read on Linda's blog how her friend in Duluth (US) has sent her a lovely sunset photograph - in fact she has put it on to her blog for us to enjoy. (Life on a Colorado Farm on my side bar.)   I went immediately to my Atlas to look up exactly where Duluth is, as I always do if somewhere is mentioned that I haven't heard of.  My father always did it and I have grown up with the habit.

Now I am not saying that I am right to do this - each to his own.   But today I met two ladies who shall be nameless, both under forty and both interesting, intelligent and well-informed people, who know so many things I don't know (particularly things about working their computers for example).   But we got talking about the flooding and about our local rivers.

'Our' river, which floods very easily and then eventually, after a few days, contributes to the flooding of York, is called the River Ure.   They knew that, but beyond that they knew none.  (Oh yes one said, I do know the Thames and the Nile - but not entirely sure where the Nile is).   They had no idea that the Ure flowed into the River Ouse, which is the river which flows through York.   And when I asked where it flowed into the sea they had no idea that it flowed into the Humber Estuary - and that this was on the East Coast.

In other words, their knowledge of Geography was pretty poor.   It transpired that they both 'dropped' Geography at the age of thirteen or so.

Should there be a core curriculum which includes English, Maths (or at least Arithmetic), History, Geography and perhaps French, as there was in my days (pre GCSE) so that everyone grows up with at least some grounding in these things?   Or am I a daft old bat who doesn't know what she is talking about?   If so, please tell me so - my back is broad and I can take it!

30 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

We all absorb different strands of knowledge because our brains work in different ways. I have always had a penchant for the geographical but in matters mathematical I am a complete dunce and show me a computer's motherboard and I would yawn with total disinterest. To me it is not just enlightening but almost essential to know about rivers, capitals, mountains and where things are in relation to each other but I recognise that there are many people for whom such knowledge is like inspecting a motherboard.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I think you are right....People should have some basic ideas. OTH, some people, the lucky ones, have a natural curiosity about all manner of things and try to find out for themselves, as you do. I think we are the lucky ones who will never be bored.

John Gray said...

I think they should teach manners and etiquette at school as well as maths and English

Geography...we now have google earth

Joanne Noragon said...

I think by the age of thirty, maximum, a person should be enough of a citizen to understand we live in geography, politically and naturally, and have enough self respect to understand it. If they don't come by it in school matters little, resources for learning are so vast.

Casey said...

There will come a day when everyone will want to know their surroundings better. It's a shame these days how many folks just don't know.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

You're talking to someone who got out of bed at 4 o'clock this morning to check where the River Stort flowed into the River Lea. On the other hand I don't know one model of car from another and wouldn't recognise a Hollywood actress if she sat on my lap - though I'd certainly make it my business to find out. Your friend probably sleeps better than I do.

Virginia said...

I'm "early sixties" and had a very traditional, RC boarding school education (nothing liberal about it!!) but we had map reading and geography skills drilled into us. By 10 or so, we all knew the names of countries and their (correct spelling of "their," you'll notice!) capital cities and major rivers, and could fill in those details on a blank map. I think it is a shame there is such a gap in young people's education. Today I would add that I think children should be taught what the major tenants are of the World religions - with the expectation that they have an appreciation of other people's cultures.

Rachel said...

You can take a horse to water and all that .. I know people who studied geography with me at school and they couldn't tell you what river runs through Norwich let alone name one country the Danube flows through. You either have an interest in geography and places and maps and rivers or you don't. I loved geography but I learned most about places and maps from the ancient atlas we had at home and following the European Cup in the 1960s.

Coppa's girl said...

Basic Geography should be taught in school, but these days children can probably find out all they need to know from a computer - and are probably expected to.
Back in "my" time at school (in the days of GCE) Geography was one of the essential subjects. I'd like to say that the knowledge I acquired has stayed with me over the years, but the world, and the Atlas, have changed so much that I could really do with a refresher course. I'll have to make do with John's suggestion of Google Earth, which will probably give me more information than I'll ever need. How I wish we'd had street scene all those years ago.

Mary said...

Geography was and still is my favorite subject. It made me 'top girl' at the primary school I attended, and then perhaps helped me get through Torquay Girls' Grammar after I discovered boys were interesting too, haha! Never would even think of you as "a daft old bat", just the opposite in fact Pat. Now that I've been fortunate enough to travel to all 7 continents, my love of/interest in geography has been a godsend - it helped me plan trips and then know where the heck I was on most days. . . . . well I was challenged somewhat in Antarctica I must admit, not many road signs, LOL!

Geography isn't even taught as a single subject here now - it's mixed in with history and other subjects - and kids have very little knowledge of the physical world. Very sad, like much of the complete modern day educational system.

A Heron's View said...

Pat you are absolutely correct. The citizens and residents need to know the geography of the county in which they reside, this to me is only common sense.

Heather said...

You are certainly not a daft old bat and I believe that all children should have at least a grounding of English, Maths, History, Geography, Science and a foreign language before being made to be channeled off into any specific direction. I wasn't particularly brainy and left school at 16, but at least I had a reasonable all round knowledge of the main subjects. Yes, it does matter.

Tom Stephenson said...

You're a daft old bat who doesn't know what she is talking about...... Only joking, Weave!

angryparsnip said...

Pat you are so right. So many people do not know where anything is. I am so amazed.
Jay Leno used to have a part of his show where he would ask people on the street questions. And I mean easy questions on World Leaders, places in the world or American History. They always messed up the answers and some of these people were in University ! But everyone knew who the Kardashins (sp) were ! Oh My Goodness why ?
I love history and geography. That is why I love blogging I get to visit places I have visited or want to visit.


cheers, parsnip and thehamish

Frugal in Essex said...

Children with learning difficulties and lower sets have to have access to the full cirricullum yet many can't spell simple English words or understand what comprehension is. Their parents used to be angry as they'd rather their child did 4 subjects than 10. English, maths, geography and history.

Terry and Linda said...

No I absolutely agree with you. The world is huge and wide and so diverse, if we don't study geography we make our worlds tiny, tiny, tiny.

Thank you so much for the shout out of my blog. I hope your readers get a chance to see that amazing photo of the Duluth, Michigan, lighthouse in the evening.

Your friend from across the pond, in the high mountain desert of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

Linda

P.S. Someday I want to walk in your hills and dales!

jinxxxygirl said...

Well i thought there WAS core subjects... at least here in the states i think so...and Geography is one of them... But honestly how much information do i retain from my formative schooling??? Some subjects i cared nothing about at the time... did what i had to do and then 'dumped' from my brain what i did not care about... You obviously from a young age was attracted to geography... I think we learn and retain what we have a natural interest in.. Funny but my tastes have evolved over the years and i find that subjects i detested in school.... history..geography...etc... i'am very interested in now. I find i'm one of those people that like to KNOW things... if we were having a discussion like the one you mentioned i would have wished we had a map in our pocket so you could show me where it was...lol I like to KNOW things alot more now than i did growing up... For example if i'm reading a book and come across a word i don't recognize i will stop and look it up... I actually own a REAL dictionary... I like the pleasure it gives me to search and find it in a real book... Hugs! deb

donna baker said...

They need it all, but I did hear the smartest person in the world say recently that in this day and age, forget the foreign language and make sure your kids learn coding. Don't know what that is, but she was adamant about todays youth learning that.

Gerry Snape said...

No you are not a daft old bat!....I had a grounding in geography and history....which may I say I hated ...then...now I'm glad that at least I was made to know the names of rivers and towns....dad could recite the list as a poem! But...my grounding was not in the geography or history of the south of my country!....only the north and the mainland...where I now live. For that I'm glad...I know more about England than Ireland...and that is DAFT!....it also depends on how interested we are in life in general...and in the others around us don't you think?....keep the questions coming Pat!

Mac n' Janet said...

Yes there should be a core of knowledge that every child should know. But as a retired teacher I'll tell you there is much more interest in teaching what I call social issues than in harder subjects. Very little geography is taught and when it is it's done in such a way as to be confusing, For instance this is your state and it grows this, but in this state in South America they grow... The child ends up not knowing anything about anywhere.
There is such an emphasis on teaching about Martin Luther King (don't get me wrong I think he was a great man) that many students think he was a president.
To graduate college in California there is no foreign language requirement, no computer class requirement. Sorry, got on a bit of a rant here.

Pondside said...

I may be a bit of a dinosaur, but think that all students should take the core subjects of English, math, history, geography and a foreign language for graduation. I know that there are students who will follow a more technical or trade-oriented stream but everyone needs a good basic knowledge of the world and how we have come to where we are. The fact that teachers (who must do a four year degree) often can't identify the capital cities of our provinces or identify major historical events is appalling, yet I have run into this more than a few times.

Cro Magnon said...

I thought that still was the core curriculum. Of course these days there's so much Politically Correct stuff to study, they probably don't have time for the basics.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I always want to know where places are. These days it is so simple - just google the name of the place if you don't own an atlas (and unfortunately the atlases go out of date so quickly) - you can click on the map to enlarge the area to get a better understanding of what area you are looking at, and you can move the map all around for more views - so it surprises me that "computer" people don't take the few seconds it takes to understand geography. Once I've seen where a place is located in a particular country I find it more interesting to read the blog or article - and sometimes I get carried away and "travel" about a bit on the maps.

Robin Mac said...

Sadly physical geography does not appear to be taught in schools in Australia any more. Young people these days don't seem to have any real idea of the location of foreign countries (including the larger ones) and I am sure they have no idea of most of the river systems in Australia. Google Earth is great, but it does not show the big picture the way an old fashioned atlas does. Our sons loved turning the globe we had to see where their father was travelling to and getting a better sense of position on the planet in relation to us.

potty said...

Watching some of the quiz shows helps. Eggheads and Pointless have a few geography questions that can lead to the Atlas.
I do remember a party on an election night/morning with a Daily Telegraph double page map that could be coloured in with results when you managed to find the constituency.

Bovey Belle said...

I am following my son's travels round the world with great interest. He is at present in Chiang Mai, Thailand (heading for Cambodia where he will work for this year). I love to see where he is on the maps and then find out from Google what these places look like.

I had a good grounding in geography and several jobs where I wrote letters/sent invoices to companies all round the UK so I could still tell you which county a town is in. I love maps and have always enjoyed poring over them.

Mind you, I will say that my education started when I LEFT school, and could choose to learn what really interested me. A basic working knowledge of your own county is an essential I would have thought and extended to own COUNTRY!

Dartford Warbler said...

I always enjoyed geography too and it seems a lifelong learning process. I wouldn`t be happy not having an idea of where I was on a map of the world/country/county. I also like to follow the travels of friends and relatives.

I must confess I did look up a map of the North during the floods, as I couldn`t remember which river flowed where, but it was so interesting to find out.

Linda Metcalf said...

I always loved Geography in school and still do. After having traveled to the Uk, Ireland and Switzerland I find myself very interested when I read of places on the blogs...I have to look up on the maps, Google Earth, and in the set of encyclopedias to know as much as I can about these places. It's interesting to look them up and see how close I was to said places when I traveled. Many I can say "Oh, I was there!"

The Weaver of Grass said...

What an interesting set of replies here - thanks so much for joining in the discussion and leading us down all sorts of alleys. I loved John's comment about having to get up in the early hours to look up where a river joined another one. That is the sort of thing that keeps me awake. But I do also agree with those of you who said that it all depends upon what interests you. Interesting that Rachel's interest in football increased her interest in Geography and also John pointing us in the direction of Google Earth. I have so enjoyed reading all your comments and certainly don't feel a daft old bat now that I have read them!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oh and thanks Tom - pleased you don't mean it!