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Discussion Forums » General Discussion
Geography quiz
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12 Apr 2009, 23:50
~*Shannon*~
Post Count: 462
Don't forget that pesky 13. lol
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12 Apr 2009, 23:51
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
But 13 is an unfair question.
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13 Apr 2009, 00:26
international
Post Count: 200
Seriously, i've had people from all over the world believe that we speak spanish in Brazil, not just americans.
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13 Apr 2009, 14:11
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
Oh yes, I'm sure plenty of Brits would get that one wrong too. And I don't actually expect anyone (from anywhere) to get them all exactly correct.

The ones which conern me the most are the European ones, because so many Americans call themselves Irish-American or Scottish-American... yet they often don't even know what language is spoken in the country where their descendents came from. That seems a little wrong to me.
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13 Apr 2009, 23:39
international
Post Count: 200
Well of course the Brits are going to have an easier time getting the European ones right compared to Americans! lol

I think most of the americans who call themselves part something know a little more about that "part" than others... although I'm sure there are cases where they do not...
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13 Apr 2009, 02:06
starsmaycollide
Post Count: 408
Honestly Alison, I get that we have a crap reputation, but as someone going into education I at the very least have to point this out.

Every state in the US has a course of study with specific standards for each grade in each subject, in addition to National standards for each subject. The states' courses of study can vary-one thing may be taught in one grade in one state, and in another grade in another state, all the way up through high school. It's not really fair to assume teachers in America don't want their students to know anything about other countries. If they actually follow the curriculum correctly, they learn geography and the standards themselves are not typically lacking content-rather, they might not be followed correctly.

Also, I think people don't care to remember what they learned because as individuals, they decided it is not important to remember.

But really, my point is, things can vary so much by region that I cringe every time someone talk about "America's schools". And believe me, I have had my fill of reading books and articles about how crappy we are and everything we are doing wrong from my courses. The odd thing is, very few people bother to explain how to fix it. The fact is, I think it all depends on the teachers. It's the philosophy. You have to want your kids to learn about the world. You have to integrate in in other subjects. You have to make the effort. Good teachers don't let their students become ignorant...but students themselves sometimes choose to be, even after they have been taught. I really think a lot of Americans you have encountered that seem ignorant may well have been taught Scottish people speak English but they cared too little about it to recall it.

One of the big problems is that with No Child Left Behind demanding standardized testing, teachers end up teaching to tests and the students forget everything they memorized to answer test questions.
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13 Apr 2009, 02:23
international
Post Count: 200
I think you bring an interesting point... you just got me thinking about how maybe kids are taught these things but they just simply don't remember. We learn so much that we end up forgetting. And a lot of times it's because we simply don't have any more contact with the information. Maybe it's not even the fact that the students choose to be ignorant, but for example, the US is such a big country that a lot of americans end up never really travelling abroad or having much contact with people from other countries. European countries are soo tiny compared to the US. Travelling around Europe is like travelling around the different states in the US. I'm not saying that the educational system in the US isn't to blame, because really I don't know enough about it to say anything, but I do think there's more to it than that.
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13 Apr 2009, 02:39
starsmaycollide
Post Count: 408
yes! I mean honestly, I cannot tell you know which part of social studies I studied in 11th grade. I can't remember! I was a good student and I learned things, but yes, often times it is just in school or on a test and that is all. Depending on where you live in the US, you may or may not constantly come into contact with other cultures. If you don't, it doesn't mean your teacher didn't care or that you're ignorant so much an un exposed. I think that is where a lot of misunderstandings come from. As previous posts have mentioned, Bloop has helped me know some things about foreign countries I did not know before.

The fact is, the 5th graders in my current class I am working with may NEVER meet a Scottish or Brazilian person , leave the country, or deal with what language is spoken in Luxembourg, and I don't believe that makes them ignorant. I hope they will be curious about the world, because I hope they want to see other places and meet people from other countries- but when it comes to cultural knowledge, it can get pretty subjective when you're talking about what people 'need' to know. After all, we can't all know everything about every country in the world. We typically remember what is important depending on where we are.

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13 Apr 2009, 02:45
The Ryan
Post Count: 414
I don't think it necessarily important that a 5th grader knows the language spoken in Luxembourg, but I think it important that adults should know that Luxembourg exists, and that they don't speak American there! ;D
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13 Apr 2009, 02:47
starsmaycollide
Post Count: 408
LOL , well at least I've got that down, eh? ;-D
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13 Apr 2009, 10:32
international
Post Count: 200
Yeah, I definitely agree with what you're saying.

And you just made me think about that game... Smarter than a 5th Grader I think? Just goes to show... I haven't seen it much at all, but from what I understand, they're just normal 5th graders... and it's just a fact that we all probably learnt this stuff too, but it's so much information to keep if you're not constantly reminded of all of it.
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13 Apr 2009, 23:10
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
I agree. However, I think if you're going to only choose a few countries to learn about, then the ones where Americans commonly have immigrant ancestors from is probably a good place to start. And unlike in other countries, Americans seem very quick to call themselves e.g. Irish-American... (yet you dont hear many Australians saying "I'm English- Australian!") so it would seem not entirely pointless to learn a little about such countries (not necessarily through high school either... surely if you're going to call yourself 'Irish-American', you should try and research Ireland a little, for your own interest?).

Of course you can't possibly learn everything about every country. However, even just watching the world news would teach some basic geography.
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13 Apr 2009, 23:10
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
Afterall, apparently some Americans think Singapore is in Europe!
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13 Apr 2009, 23:16
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
Actually, the watching the news thing shouldn't be underestimated. I mean, not so long ago terrorists drove into Glasgow airport. It was on the news all over the world (I know because I watched the report on the American news channel CNN!). Any American who watched the news that day would have gotten a good idea that Scots speak English! Not to mention... you guys sing Auld Lang Syne every new year! Do Americans sing it with no knowledge that it is a Scottish song? OR do they sing it thinking it is in another language (admittedly it is old English, with some particularly old Scottish words in it, auld, for old, for example, but most of it is as clearly in English as Shakespeare is!).

These are things which don't need to be taught in school but which anyone with a general interest and awareness of the world around them would pick up.
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14 Apr 2009, 00:11
starsmaycollide
Post Count: 408
Well as I referenced before, geography is required to be taught, so it's not as if people aren't ever exposed. Each state handles their own public education. Geography is required among other things. I can't personally explain for you why someone would think that about Scotland or not understand Singapore. All I can say is you can't blame their teachers if their teachers taught them the curriculum.
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14 Apr 2009, 00:46
~*Shannon*~
Post Count: 462
No one said Scots don't speak English. I think everyone knows that Scots DO speak English. It just varies on their knowledge of how OFTEN Scots speak English...whether they speak English regularly as a primary language, or as a secondary language. But no one has ever said they didn't know Scots speak English.
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14 Apr 2009, 12:23
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
Actually, the girl who left me a comment saying she had no idea we spoke English in Scotland, said that.
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14 Apr 2009, 00:07
starsmaycollide
Post Count: 408
I don't necessarily get the calling yourself "something-American" either. It's one of those things that exists, but I don't actually know anyone who actually does that, unless they are Native Americans. Even the term African American isn't used as much as it used to be, and that was the one I have heard the most. And if someone DID say that kind of term, I would assume they recently came here, not that it was their ancestors.


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14 Apr 2009, 00:17
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
Weird, I've seen several American Bloopers describe themselves in that way. In fact I've even seen some call themselves Irish, when they've never been to ireland in their lives! Just because their great grandparents or whatever came from there.
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14 Apr 2009, 00:21
starsmaycollide
Post Count: 408
Well, I guess people do it, but I don't personally know anyone IRL who says it. I think it's overdone, myself. I think a lot of Americans don't really like it. I just don't think it makes sense unless you recently came to a country. :-P
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14 Apr 2009, 00:25
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
I agree completely. Like I'd never call myself English-Scottish just because my parents are English. That's just silly. I've never understood why some Americans do it either.
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14 Apr 2009, 00:46
international
Post Count: 200
Okay, so I'm totally with you on the whole American/something... that's something I've never really understood. However, what's so wrong about you calling yourself even a bit english if your parents are english? I guess when it reaches the parents in my mind it's different. Hmm... I don't know... I mean, my cousins were born and raised in France their whole lives, their father is french but their mother is brazilian.... must they only be french? Is it silly for them to say they are part brazilian?
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14 Apr 2009, 10:43
Transit
Post Count: 1096
It is a nationality not a race! It is totally dependent on where you grow up. I know someone on here who truly believes she has Irish blood, I pointed out that it is not a race but a nationality, but obviously I was totally wrong about this! Even though they were having a paddy's day celebration which they called Patty and had 'Irish' food, which actually, you would never get in Ireland. Didn't know the different between Ireland and Northern Ireland either.
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14 Apr 2009, 12:29
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
No. Lets make this clear for everyone right now...

Ireland is split into Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Northern Ireland is part of Great Britain. They have a parliament (like Scotland and Wales) which controls certain areas (e.g. health, education), but they still ultimately answer to the British government in London. They use the pound as currency.

The Republic of Ireland is a seperate country. They are not part of Great Britain. They have their own government, and their currency is the Euro.

There, now everyone will know. :) Including all those Americans who claim to be Irish-American without the slightest clue of if that makes them also British-American or not!
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14 Apr 2009, 12:35
Transit
Post Count: 1096
Now if anyone gets it wrong, they must be punished!

The Greek girl in our flat went to Northern Ireland with loads of Euro's, it was really funny, then again she thought London was the capital of Wales! She went to an international school so followed the american system.
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