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Discussion Forums » General Discussion
Geography quiz
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14 Apr 2009, 12:26
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
Well that's different. If someone specifically asked I would say i'm a tiny part English (as my mum's family from further back were all Scottish). But if someone asked my nationality I wouldn't answer "English-Scottish", but there's many Americans who describe their nationality with their heritage in front of it. I remember one Blooper actually had it on her front page "I'm so-and-so and I'm Irish-American". Bizarre.
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14 Apr 2009, 15:50
international
Post Count: 200
Okay, so in your case it's really just a choice because of how you feel towards being english. Because in a situation like I pointed out them calling themselves "French-Brazilian" wouldn't be so silly, right?

I agree with you that nationality and heritage are two different things and Americans tend to add the heritage along in some cases where it's really just a heritage and not their nationality. I think heritage just happens to be a bigger issue in a country like the US, so it's almost like you're expect to be a part, a fourth or an eighteenth something else. However, for example, a lot of Brazilians are actually very much like americans in the heritage sense... but when asked their nationality they will usually just say "brazilian" unless you ask them where their family or name came from...
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16 Apr 2009, 01:27
.Blue Bella.
Post Count: 743
I don't know any Aussues who'd want to admit to being Engligh-Australian :P
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13 Apr 2009, 14:26
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
Yes, well that is definitely true. There are bad teachers here too, and I shouldn't generalise. However, somehow (and I'm not sure if it's down to curriculum, teachers, parents or a combination of them all) there seems to be less enthusiasm among Americans (compared to say Europeans or Australians) to learn and experience other countries and cultures. I don't think there is just one thing responsible, but rather a number of factors, along them, the education. Look at Lauren's remark for example, about almost all her geography and history classes being exclusively about America. However, clearly that is not the same for all Americans.

And you make a good point about people not caring to recall such information... but WHY do they not care to recall it? That attitude must have been instilled in them somewhere along the way, presumably partly from teachers, parents, the media and their peers. An attitude like that is going to be very hard to overcome though.

(P.S. I think you'll be an amazing teacher!)
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13 Apr 2009, 15:04
starsmaycollide
Post Count: 408
Well firstly, given that every state decides what gets studied in every grade, so there isn't much I can say about her classes-they would be in a different sequence than my state. US History is a big part of a lot of curriculum in much of the US, yes, and it makes sense to me. Of course it is, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. However, you can't talk about US history without talking about Europe, so it's not as though US history classes don't discuss the world. Studying US history does not involve not just what Americans did, but how our role in the world affected things, and what allies we had and when we chose to fought with who. That seems culturally relevant to me. It would be impossible to teach it without talking about other countries and cultures. Not to mention, the idea that the US is a 'melting pot' s certainly part of our history.

Besides that, it's likely it is what Lauren remembers most clearly. It doesn't mean she didn't have other courses too. Most high schools require foreign languages as an example, as well as economics, government, and world history. Cultural knowledge can be in all of those courses.

I don't think it's fair to say that people don't want to learn about other cultures. American students are exposed to other cultures in their own environments and in their schools. as a teacher, I may need to focus on Mexico or China depending on the makeup of my class. Kids today are learning about cultural awareness and diversity, out of necessity. Kids are pouring in that can't speak English. If Americans are so bad at caring about other cultures, we wouldn't be able to educate them, but we are.

I think part of the issue is defining what is relevant. In America, Mexico is pretty relevant right now-more so than studying Belgium, for example. So if my students know less about Belgium, it isn't because I don't want them to care, it's because that might not be my priority at the moment.

I think what Bia said about travel is a big component too. In Europe, you can get on a train and be in another country. You travel easily among several different cultures. We have only 2 countries bordering us, so our need to know about languages and details about some European countries is certainly different here,but I don't think that's due to ignorance. We have a lot of cultural differences within our country, and I think that is something we want students to understand, as well as understanding those in other countries.

Some people , for whatever the reason, think they don't need or want to go other places. Some people are ignorant about other countries the same way people are racist-we don't teach people to be racist, people onto stereotypes and just are-it's same with cultural ignorance. I wouldn't go blaming anyone for that, it's simply stupidity. Ignorance is everywhere, though.


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13 Apr 2009, 23:23
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
Yes, clearly it varies. I also remember Meghan's Follie recently saying that one of her kids was doing a project in school on Ireland. Unfortunately, however, from what she said, the teacher was teaching them wrong (if I remember right, she told them that the whole or Ireland was one country, when in fact the Republic of ireland is totally seperate from Northern ireland, which is actually part of the UK. They even have different currency, and Brits need a passport to get into the Republic of Ireland. So same country they are not.).

And I absolutely agree that Mexico is more relavent to your kids than say Belgium. But like I said above, I think countries where some of these kids ancestors will have come from, such as the UK, should be relevant. And as I also said above, if someone has the right attitude and interest to learn about the world about them, they could pick up a lot just from watching the news.

I should also clarify that I think American kids should learn about other countries NOW, not their history. That would be pretty pointless. Of course American history is more relevant to them. And most of the history we were taught in school was European history. We did however learn about the politics and sociology of countries such as the US and China (as well as Europe). Because they were considered most relevant to us (although i think other schools taught about Russia instead of China) at that time.
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14 Apr 2009, 00:18
starsmaycollide
Post Count: 408
I'm not suggesting the UK isn't relevant, simply that the nationalities within my class are going to be the first priority. Kids have to accept each other before I can move on to the rest of the world.

Again, the middle/high school standards I listed for my own state included economics, sociology, and world geography. I should point out that Alabama has a poor reputation in education among the states, so if we have those subjects required, then the other 49 states certainly do . Those all involve current events.

As for elementary standards, there is an emphasis on history, but there are also specific standards like one for 2nd graders for example, that says they should learn about celebrations in other cultures. Sounds simple, but it's a good way at a young age (7 years old) to teach children what other countries do and how we're different. That's just a small example.
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14 Apr 2009, 01:10
international
Post Count: 200
Yep, yep, what I said about travel. And not just the fact that it's a lot easier for people to travel around Europe and therefore learn from it... but also in the sense that tourists around Europe are everywhere! (Something I miss here!) And you end up learning from that contact too...
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13 Apr 2009, 15:14
starsmaycollide
Post Count: 408
Oh, and just to help explain- I posted national standards earlier, but these are topics in Social Studies required in my state for upper grades:
(7 meaning 7th grade, 9-12 indicating high school topics)
Citizenship (7)
United States Government (12)
Geography (7)
Economics (12)
Contemporary Issues (9-12)
Psychology (9-12)
Sociology (9-12)
World Geography-Physical (9-12)
World Geography-Human (9-12)

from http://alex.state.al.us/browseSS.php
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14 Apr 2009, 01:08
international
Post Count: 200
Maybe it's not about them not caring to recall such information, but again, they simply don't have the contact to recall it. They recall other information instead which ends up being more "useful" to them? Maybe it's not so much their attitude.
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13 Apr 2009, 02:08
The Ryan
Post Count: 414
1. Portugal - Portugese! I know this because: I have been there. And it kind of makes sense that the Portuguese should speak...well... Portuguese!


2. Austria - German. And apparantly a bit of Croatian too! I know this because: I learned German in school. And that was one of it's selling points, "Learn this language! It's spoken in Germany... AND AUSTRIA! And Switzerland! And Liechtenstein! You will be so lost without it!" And I have a Croatian friend who once told me that she can get by with her Croatian in Austria. Which was news to me!


3. Belgium - French, German, and Dutch. I know this because: I have been there!


4. New Zealand - English! And I'm guessing Maori too. I know this because:: It is bloody New Zealand!


5. Luxembourg - German and French. I know this because: Again... it's just one of those things you know!


6. The Netherlands - Dutch!I know this because: of our delightful Marty!


7. Scotland - English, and Gaelic!I know this because: I'd be an idiot not to.


8. Wales - English, and Welsh. I know this because: I have family there. All the road signs and leaflets distributed tend to be in both Welsh and English. Though most Welsh people don't actually speak much Welsh at all.


9. Ireland - English and Gaelic. I know this because: It's just one of those things that British people know, I suppose! I also know that there are a couple different forms of gaelic and that Irish passports are half written in Gaelic!


10. Canada - English, French, and Russian. I know this because: I had a Canadian friend at school. I didn't find out that parts of Canada speak Russian until last week in Vegas though. There was a couple at the grand canyon, and our pilot asked if they were French Canadian, and they were all "No. We're Russian Canadian! We speak Russian." Which I guess makes sense, as Alaska was once part of Russia, and that borders Canada.


11. Brazil - Portugeuse. I know this because: Half because of Bia! And half becuase we studied South America during my history degree, and learned all about the Treaty of Tordesillas which divided the Americas into what was claimed for Portugal and what was claimed for Spain.


12. Mexico - Spanish. I know this because: it's impossible not to! haha.


13. South Africa - English, Afrikaans, and about twenty other different languages! I know this because: I have South African friends, some of which speak about 5 languages, all native to their home country.



I know most of these through either having been to the places, or having friends from them, or having studied them at degree. It's very little to do with the rubbish education I received, especially at secondary school level!! haha

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13 Apr 2009, 02:22
starsmaycollide
Post Count: 408
I think is a good point Ryan. I think even the most well meaning American teacher may not talk a whole lot about say, Luxembourg-one might just find out about their language from somewhere else. That being said, I don't think that means the teacher is doing a bad job.

I don't think I got a bad education because I know Belgians speak French from my husband ex college roommate, rather than remembering a high school lesson. I can't remember exactly what we learned in which year.
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13 Apr 2009, 02:33
The Ryan
Post Count: 414
Of course, it doesn't necessarily mean the teacher is doing a bad job, but maybe that the curriculum is failing by not setting down the importance of knowing the world. I don't think enough is taught about other cultures in schools because there is no provision for it, which is very sad, yo!
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13 Apr 2009, 02:46
starsmaycollide
Post Count: 408
Well there are provisions-as I said in my previous post, the US has very specific standards about what to teach in every grade, as well as National standards.

I am an Elementary major and these are the National standards for Social Studies:

http://www.socialstudies.org/standards/strands

I guess what I meant was, teachers have tons of things to cover. There may be a country that isn't focused upon as much, and therefore you learn something from somewhere else...I think that's just reality. You can't know everything about every country.
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13 Apr 2009, 02:59
~*Shannon*~
Post Count: 462
No, you can't know everything about every country. But it's really sad when you don't even know enough about your own country to be able to point out your own state on a United States map, as a rather high percentage of high school graduates fail to be able to do these days.

The biggest problem isn't necessarily that the teachers have tons of things to cover. Teachers in other countries have a ton of things to cover as well. It's that those who would actually be GOOD teachers and hold the interest of the students and make them WANT to learn are being over-shadowed by rules and regulations that hide the teacher's creativities. I see very few teachers these days who CAN keep the attention of the students and make them WANT to learn because it's fun, not because it's something they have to do in order to get a good job. Not because some of those teachers are boring, but because the school system doesn't allow them to use them.

Basically, it seems the U.S. has gotten into this whole "just give them the information so we can get them out of here" education system. And instead of taking the extra time on those students who may WANT to learn but have a little trouble, they just get pushed through before they're ready.
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13 Apr 2009, 03:10
starsmaycollide
Post Count: 408
I can't say I've ever heard of that statistic , but that's really not here or there.

I'm not saying it's because they have tons to cover, I'm just saying that have very specific things to cover, that are required. Those things may or may not include details about all of the countries Alison listed, and that doesn't mean they are doing a bad job. Wales simply isn't considered as important as other things in a particular year. That doesn't mean they don't care about other cultures.

Part of the problem with testing is teachers feel the need to cover test material and review and that can take away a lot of creativity, yes. However the big movement now seems to be all about 'discovery teaching' which is much more creative and hands on. The pendulum always swings in terms of what way is best. Right now that is what my program is telling us upcoming teachers to teach. Used appropriately, it does make subjects interesting and challenging.

As for the last part, that's what accommodations are for. Anyone doing what you describe as pushing kids through is simply not doing their job.

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13 Apr 2009, 03:37
~*Shannon*~
Post Count: 462
Unfortunately, "not doing their job" is all the experience I've ever had with the public school system in this country. The private school MIGHT have had a better chance at teaching my son if the public school system hadn't screwed up so royally. So yeah, given my experience with the public school system, I have to agree with the idea that the United States education system sucks. Granted, that IS just my opinion based on my personal experiences with said education system.
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13 Apr 2009, 03:41
starsmaycollide
Post Count: 408
Well I'd assume as much given that you've chosen to homeschool. It's unfortunate that you had that kind of experience. I just wish that people who don't truly want to HELP children and their parents would get the heck out of the profession. They are ruining it for the rest of us. When I teach, no parent should ever feel like the only way for their student to learn is if they are out of my classroom, unless we're talking about a least restricted environment/IEP type of situation. That's just sad. :(
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14 Apr 2009, 00:37
international
Post Count: 200
I just have to say something. Personally I find the U.S educational system way more creative about teaching than some others out there. Just thinking about it, and comparing it for example with the french system, I feel that the french system "just gives the information" a lot more than the american system does. The american system is very broad. They give a lot more importance to creativity and all areas in life.

I'm actually thankful that my parents decided to put me in the american system rather than the other easy option, the french one.
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14 Apr 2009, 00:42
~*Shannon*~
Post Count: 462
Bia, you are old enough that when you were in school, the teachers WERE more creative. But having children in the system NOW and the total opposite is generally true. Every now and then you find a teacher who spits in the face of authority and says "I'll do whatever it takes for my students to succeed", but more often than not those teachers get ridiculed and then they fall into the woodwork.

When I was in school, my teachers were WONDERFUL. I just wish my own children had teachers like the ones I had. But also back when I was in school, we didn't hear about teachers going on strike. Nowdays, it's nearly a weekly thing. There is a VERY distinct difference in the teachers up to the early/mid 90's and the teachers since the mid 90's.
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14 Apr 2009, 01:17
international
Post Count: 200
I'm not sure that we can really use me as an example here because my schooling isn't the most common one... and while I studied through the american system I was also in a very international environment.

Like I said, I can't really talk about the american teachers there now because I am not a part of it... the only point I was making up there is comparing the american schooling system (as a system, and not talking about teachers) to other countries/cultures schooling systems. And whether the teachers are great or not I still stand by the fact that the american system is a creative and broad one. They don't just throw information at you, and for example, it's not all simply academics thrown at you and remember all you can.
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14 Apr 2009, 01:26
~*Shannon*~
Post Count: 462
While it may be true for some schools within the system that they don't just throw information at you expecting you to remember all you can, that is unfortunately not true for all of them. If that is the experience you had with the system, that's great. But the experience I have had with the system as a mother of children IN the system, I can tell you it's not that way everywhere.

Maybe I am misunderstanding what it is you are saying, but the effectiveness of the system relies on the ability of the teacher. If a teacher is creative, the system is creative. If the teacher throws the information at you, then the system sucks. In my experience as a mother, it's unfortunately been the latter.
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14 Apr 2009, 01:38
international
Post Count: 200
I agree about the "importance" of a teacher in the equation. And I can't deny your experience or anything. I don't think the system is perfect and I know that I don't know the details to the system everywhere around the US. I've never even studied in the US, so I just want to make it clear that I know I can't talk about that quite like you can. I think I'm just not being very succesful at saying what I'm trying to say! lol I'm simply comparing the american system (or the idea behind the system anyway) to other systems, like i mentioned above, the french one. I'm not even getting into the teachers part of it! Although... when I stop to think about it, the french teachers I had were not good.
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14 Apr 2009, 12:30
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
Why did you go to an American school and not to the European schools?
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14 Apr 2009, 15:54
international
Post Count: 200
Well considering my dads life my parents basicly had a few options towards my schooling, mainly american or french. British too I guess, though diplomats usually tend to pick between the american or french system for their children for some reason. There are american schools pretty much everywhere. Same for french. They decided to put me in a system that would work well with transfering. My parents just picked the american system over the french one I guess. My mom liked the american system more.
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