Tuesday, November 27, 2012
  Best article about teaching

I was doing my 1901 thing, trying to locate a specific account of Puget Sound around 1900 to prove or disprove acidification there. Along the way I was bowled over by an unspeakably beautiful piece of advocacy. In an 1898 journal of the Royal Geographical Society, a brief piece by Richard Dodge of New York Teachers College. (Starts on page 182 of the PDF file.)

I'll transcribe the important part here without any comment except some bolds and italics. Dodge's concept is too brilliant to spoil with my crude attempts at explication. Too bad nobody ever listened to him, in geography or any other topic.
Leaving aside, then, the question as to the power of geography, let us see what the aims of geographical education are, and what they should be. Hitherto the aim has been to give a knowledge of the world in its relation to man, and in some cases a knowledge of the world with very little thought of man.

Now, we recognize that the teacher has not accomplished his task or fulfilled his duty thoroughly until he has trained his pupils in the ability to gain more education after they have left him than they have gained with him.

They must leave school with the ability to study, to interpret, and to apply; with the power of gaining knowledge for themselves from maps, textbooks, encyclopedias, books of travel, and all other sources of geographical information.

If the end to be sought by geography teaching is the power of knowing and applying oneself, then surely this power is more important than mere information. Broadly, geography should train the pupils in an understanding of the features of the Earth, of their origin and structure, of their life-histories and ends; it should develop in the pupils a love for nature and outdoors, a desire to study geography firsthand and to come in contact with the Earth; it should leave them in a questioning spirit and with the power of thought.

All these points have been more or less dwelt upon by our teachers and geographers, but there is another point we hear less about, and it is this: that the training in geography should be along scientific lines, and should lay the basis for scientific thought which the pupils may use in later years. If the three steps which any scientist must follow before he comes to a decision are those of observation, inference and proof, then our training is unscientific if we stop with mere observation and the study of relationships. We should develop in our children the power of prophecy, and the power of proving the prophecy. By prophecy I do not mean guessing, but I mean the power of foretelling the relationship of man to any part of the world from the study of a good map or other representation of that region.

From my experience in teaching I know that this power of prophecy can be developed early in the child's life, and that it is vastly helpful in future training. The prophesying, however, must be founded on familiar conditions, and must start in a simple way. We all know that the German custom of making home geography [Heimatkunde] the center for future study of the world is coming to be recognized as the true beginning of geographical work. If home geography is so taught in the early years that the children get an understanding of causal conditions, it becomes a basis for the study of prophetic geography later.

From the home geography we should go to a map representation of the facts, and from the home maps to maps of other regions drawn in a similar way. From these latter maps the pupils should be able to read the physical conditions, and to prophesy from these conditions certain great lines of geographical development. Climatic conditions, the lines of drainage, the character of the topography, the altitude, the occupations of the people, the places of residence, the manner of life, the lines of communication by water or rail (or lack thereof); the probable position of the great centers of population, and many other points, should at once be suggested to the child as the only results possible under such conditions.
Dodge's 1903 textbook on Home Geography is here. Continued in next entry.

Labels: , ,

 


<< Home

blogger hit counter
My Photo
Name:
Location: Spokane

Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

My graphics products:

Free stuff at ShareCG

And some leftovers here.

ARCHIVES
March 2005 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / November 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / July 2008 / August 2008 / September 2008 / October 2008 / November 2008 / December 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 / July 2009 / August 2009 / September 2009 / October 2009 / November 2009 / December 2009 / January 2010 / February 2010 / March 2010 / April 2010 / May 2010 / June 2010 / July 2010 / August 2010 / September 2010 / October 2010 / November 2010 / December 2010 / January 2011 / February 2011 / March 2011 / April 2011 / May 2011 / June 2011 / July 2011 / August 2011 / September 2011 / October 2011 / November 2011 / December 2011 / January 2012 / February 2012 / March 2012 / April 2012 / May 2012 / June 2012 / July 2012 / August 2012 / September 2012 / October 2012 / November 2012 / December 2012 / January 2013 / February 2013 / March 2013 / April 2013 / May 2013 / June 2013 / July 2013 / August 2013 / September 2013 / October 2013 / November 2013 / December 2013 / January 2014 / February 2014 / March 2014 / April 2014 / May 2014 / June 2014 / July 2014 / August 2014 / September 2014 / October 2014 / November 2014 / December 2014 / January 2015 / February 2015 / March 2015 / April 2015 / May 2015 / June 2015 / July 2015 / August 2015 / September 2015 / October 2015 / November 2015 / December 2015 / January 2016 / February 2016 / March 2016 / April 2016 / May 2016 / June 2016 / July 2016 / August 2016 / September 2016 / October 2016 / November 2016 / December 2016 / January 2017 / February 2017 / March 2017 / April 2017 / May 2017 / June 2017 / July 2017 / August 2017 / September 2017 /


Major tags or subjects:

Aberree
Carbon Cult
Constants and variables
Defensible spaces
Experiential education
Grand Blueprint
Гром победы
Heimatkunde
Language updates
Metrology
Natural law = Sharia law
Patient things
Skill-estate
Switchover

Powered by Blogger