Monday, January 18, 2010

Bring back the good old Geography!

When I was a student in France, I had a tough time trying to explain to my French friends where Malaysia was. Nobody seemed to know much about our country. So the easiest way was asking them if they knew where Thailand and Singapore were. They said yes. And I would just say that our country was in between.

Nowadays sometimes in class I have problems explaining to the students where France is situated in Europe. So again I use the same method. Ask them first if they know where the UK and Spain are located in the world map. And then say that France is in between. Before showing them the world map, of course.

I wish they would bring back Geography to all the Form 4 and 5 students. My students say the subject is now an option to them in Higher Secondary level. With the current trend of globalization, I feel that it is very important for the students to be introduced to Human Geography as well. Learn about what is happening around the world; have a little grasp on the human, social, cultural, political and economic aspects of this discipline.

Let Physical Geography be taught in Lower Secondary. That will be the time the students will learn about the natural environment and how the climate, vegetation and life, soil, water and landforms are produced and interact. Then continue with an introduction to Human Geography in Form 4 and 5. This is the branch of Geography that focuses on the on the study of patterns and processes that shape human interaction with various environments. The two branches are inter-linked. It is not possible to learn the latter without knowledge of the former.

It is not about making them experts in Geography. It's about opening their minds a little to what is happening around the globe. Let them see how we are all so intricately linked to one another in space and time no matter where we are in this world. They do not have to leave the classroom to get a taste of all this adventure.

Or perhaps I have this recurring problem with my students simply as a punishment for not doing properly the work that my Geography teacher gave us in class. She would scold us when we didn't trace out the map according to scale.

"Nurhayati, kenapa peta Semenanjung Malaysia awak ni macam karipap?"

God bless you, Puan Muhaimu!

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  1. sayda: hi there. thanks. lepas ni nak tukar buat theme warna pink pulak. mesti ramai yang meluat :)

  2. Thank God you're a French lecturer & not art! I remember your manusia lidi which looked like mini sausages! Hillarious. Anyway, I hope someone literate in the Ministry of Education "can" read this & DO something! What you said is really true!