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Old 11-03-2009, 09:17 AM
 
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When I was in Eurpoe a few years ago, I found that the Europeans had no concept of the relative population sizes of major North American population centers. At that time, Dallas-Ft W had about 5 million people, but when I mentioned that factoid on a tour bus, the Europeans were flabbergasted... I might as well have been telling them that Texas was on the planet Mars.

I'd say that many Europeans get their American geography from American media... movies, news shows, etc., and they are ignorant about areas that are less in the media spotlight.
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
Well, like I said, unless you know where the statistic came from and how it was collected, I take it with a grain of salt. Statistics like this can be heavily bias and easily manipulated depending on the organization who conducted the study. Anyone who reads a shocking statistic and just believes it without even considering where it's come from and how it's been collected is as foolish as these supposed geographically challenged high school students.

And of course, as someone else pointed out, you have to take into consideration the fact that kids are taught things that they will not necessarily remember because they aren't interested in it. I'll readily admit that I probably don't remember 90% of what I was taught in Math class. Just because kids don't know something doesn't always mean they weren't taught it.
I could easily fabricate a surprising result if I wanted to come up with a factoid that would get attention and sell magazines. Just shove a map in someone's face when they're walking down the street, and if they push it away, count them as part of the 20% that have "failed" to find their country on a map.
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Old 11-03-2009, 10:02 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace View Post
When I was in Eurpoe a few years ago, I found that the Europeans had no concept of the relative population sizes of major North American population centers. At that time, Dallas-Ft W had about 5 million people, but when I mentioned that factoid on a tour bus, the Europeans were flabbergasted... I might as well have been telling them that Texas was on the planet Mars.

I'd say that many Europeans get their American geography from American media... movies, news shows, etc., and they are ignorant about areas that are less in the media spotlight.
I imagine that's so. Still I'm not sure many Americans could name the second-largest city in Germany or know its size. Also that our media basically ignores the Central Time Zone is somewhat our fault.

I think the poor understanding of political or economic geography here is worrisome. I do think people should know the names of several foreign stock exchanges and heads of government. Also that Europeans are likely a bit better at that. Still I would agree there is some unfairness on their side. There are many many ignorant people in Europe.
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Old 11-03-2009, 10:43 AM
 
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Western Europe is comparable in size to the United States, so it's understandable that Europeans would know about other areas in Europe. For a Spaniard to know about cities in France or Portugal is no better than someone from Ohio knowing that Chicago is the largest city in Illinois, for example.

A better test of European vs US geographical knowledge is to ask Europeans to find Ohio on a map.

One Frenchman I knew in San Francisco, for example, admitted to me that he did not know that Texas had a seacoast. He had obviously never seen a map of the Gulf of Mexico.

I can't tell you how many Europeans land at DFW airport and expect to see a desert, as if they were coming into Phoenix or Las Vegas. There was a film crew from Dublin, some years ago, who wanted to make a classic cowboy movie. They flew into DFW, expecting the local terrain to look like a John Ford film. Their complaint? Hell, this looks no different than Ireland. Now, I can expect a casual European to maybe be ignorant, but when a movie production company fails to do basic research for an expensive major production, you might believe that their predjudice, ignorance and confirmation bias must be very strong and ingrained.

So I don't expect the European school system to be qualitatively better than the American, as far as geography goes.
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Old 11-03-2009, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Lumberton TX
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um actually geography is taught in U.S. High Schools i would know cuz i had to go back to high school this year after having my son!!!
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Old 11-03-2009, 12:58 PM
 
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I had geography in grade school (1960's). There's probably no need for it to be taught in high school; it is not like it is such an abstract subject that it takes a more mature mind to learn this stuff. Of course, a lot of students leave school with little knowledge of geography but this likely reflects more on them and the school system than on "what grade" it was taught in.
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:29 PM
 
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To be technical about it, geography is the craft of how to draw maps of the earth.

graphy - charting

geo - the earth
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:55 PM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
13,856 posts, read 22,985,014 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace View Post
Western Europe is comparable in size to the United States, so it's understandable that Europeans would know about other areas in Europe. For a Spaniard to know about cities in France or Portugal is no better than someone from Ohio knowing that Chicago is the largest city in Illinois, for example.

A better test of European vs US geographical knowledge is to ask Europeans to find Ohio on a map.

One Frenchman I knew in San Francisco, for example, admitted to me that he did not know that Texas had a seacoast. He had obviously never seen a map of the Gulf of Mexico.

I can't tell you how many Europeans land at DFW airport and expect to see a desert, as if they were coming into Phoenix or Las Vegas. There was a film crew from Dublin, some years ago, who wanted to make a classic cowboy movie. They flew into DFW, expecting the local terrain to look like a John Ford film. Their complaint? Hell, this looks no different than Ireland. Now, I can expect a casual European to maybe be ignorant, but when a movie production company fails to do basic research for an expensive major production, you might believe that their predjudice, ignorance and confirmation bias must be very strong and ingrained.

So I don't expect the European school system to be qualitatively better than the American, as far as geography goes.
I think what you're saying doesn't really work seeing as the EU has more people than us and there is a difference in knowing another nation to knowing an area within it. Bavaria has about the same population as Ohio, but I don't think Germans expect Americans to know where Bavaria is and if they are they're unfair.

I think it'd be more fair to compare our respective knowledge of South America or Asia.
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Old 11-04-2009, 06:12 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
8,927 posts, read 13,683,308 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace View Post
I'd say that many Europeans get their American geography from American media... movies, news shows, etc., and they are ignorant about areas that are less in the media spotlight.
Absolutely true. When people in the UK ask where in America I'm from, I usually get a blank stare when I tell them "Pennsylvania". If I say "Philadelphia", I usually get a light bulb but only because of movies like Rocky. If you asked them to point to it on a map, I'll bet most of them wouldn't have a clue where Philly is because many people go on to ask me how far from NYC it is. NYC, Florida and LA seem to be their biggest points of geographical reference in the US so if you can relate your location in terms of those, you're golden.

So I think it's safe to say most people in the UK are just as clueless about North and South American geography as Americans tend to be about European geography. But frankly, I don't think there is anything so horribly wrong with that. So most people can't locate every country and city on the planet and the majority are most geographically familiar with the countries surrounding their own. So what?
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Old 11-04-2009, 06:26 AM
 
Location: Alaska & Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PalmBch View Post
How come Geography is not a subject and taught in most of U.S. High Schools?

Social Studies both consist of U.S. History and World History. How come now Geography too?

Geography is important subject too! No wonder why most American's can't point where certain places in on the map, or don't know anything about the world!
For example, 15/20 H.S. junior students did not know what continent France and Greece belonged to.
1. 99.9% of high schools have a form of Geography. HOWEVER, not every high school requires it to graduate.

2. Outrageous stats without trustworthy sources are FAKE! 15/20, I would bet any amount that is not accurate. It was either created from air or they sampled a single class in a poor performing inner city school and proclaimed, that's the representation of all high school students in the US. I know, I never was asked any question such as that during high school or college...so where do these stats come from? I don't know ANYONE who doesn't know where France and Greece are located...even in middle school 90% of my classmates knew and in high school + everyone I met knew where these two countries were located.
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