The teaching profession carries the pivotal social responsibility of educating children and young people. Every year, the classroom beckons new cohorts of teachers with a chance to inspire young minds.
However, in an era when high-stakes testing and accountability pressures show little sign of abating, all too often teachers are asked only to concern themselves with technical matters – such as how to improve their ‘effectiveness’ (measured by their students ‘performance’).
The technical issues of what and how to teach a particular topic are crucial. However, there is an even more pressing matter. GeoCapabilities places prior emphasis firmly on why we teach geography.
Children and young people are the ultimate beneficiaries of having teachers know why they are teaching this or that topic. These teachers have a viewpoint about the significance of geography. They also have an understanding of what children need to know, understand and be able to do in this day and age.
Why teach geography in this day and age?
Consider, first, what is meant by in this day and age.
• technology is pervasive and highly personal;
• hundreds of thousands of people migrate daily in search of a better life, with profound implications both for the places they enter and the places left behind;
• the trade of goods and services in the world economy continues to intensify and deepen connections between people all over, from the smallest villages to the largest cities;
• global climate change leaves no corner of Earth’s environment untouched.
So, children live in a highly interdependent and globalized world. They need to be educated in a manner that prepares them for this.
GeoCapabilities asks us how geography can enhance students’ thinking, enabling them to make better, informed choices about how to live in the world.
It is in this spirit that GeoCapabilities aspires to engage teachers worldwide in a reflective discussion about why geography education matters in this day and age.
Our long term goal is to encourage geography teachers around the world to make sure geographical knowledge forms an essential part of what we call a Future 3 curriculum.