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PDilemma
10-01-2011, 09:38 PM
I will get flamed by the teachers (particularly History and those who teach geography and social studies) but I have a different point of view.

Japanfan: Is it really important to know the three largest cities in Canada? or the United States, or Mexico, or England?

I think what it more important is that population of cities/countries fluctuates and why. Why the US has a moire urban population and that diversity of the population is changing the way we do business or politics in the US.

I think that it is more important to know that the unsanitary conditions caused bubonic plague and how we dealt with those conditions is more important than the actual dates.

I think it is more important to know the reasons why Nazi Germany came to being and why World War 2 happened then actual dates.

I think that it is more important to know how the world changed because of the ability to mass produce printed word than the actual date of the printing press.

You get the idea. That the why and how and what is more important than the when

I don't know what you're reading, but I think that is what both Matryeshka and I have been saying in this thread.

numbers123
10-01-2011, 09:42 PM
I don't know what you're reading, but I think that is what both Matryeshka and I have been saying in this thread.

in general the standardized tests are asking for dates and when my sons were in school, it was not so important as the why, how and what but the when. So many teachers do not have the time to teach more than dates.

And FWIW - I suck at the geography game that someone posted a link several years ago. And given a blank outline of North America, I honestly couldn't identify where one border ended and other one started.

icecat
10-01-2011, 09:51 PM
i agree across the board on the "behind the scenes' look at history and used it extensively when homeschooling my youngest. but without a timeline to put it in perspective I think it loses much effectiveness.

PDilemma
10-01-2011, 09:53 PM
i agree across the board on the "behind the scenes' look at history and used it extensively when homeschooling my youngest. but without a timeline to put it in perspective I think it loses much effectiveness.

Kids need to put history in order. You can't ignore dates, but that doesn't mean they have to memorize them.

vesperholly
10-01-2011, 09:57 PM
What you said is more than what my state has but IMHO it's still not wonderful global education--I think a good global education should aim at students being bilingual to the point of reading foreign literary masterpieces, studying political systems in other countries in government classes, multi-year coverage of world history covering other countries, etc.

Bilingual? When would I ever use that skill? I took 7 years of Spanish and hardly remember a thing - due to attrition of use, not disinterest. I don't disagree with your other criteria, but it's just not economical to go overboard teaching something of little value to the majority. Students who want to become bilingual will certainly achieve it themselves.

I'd ditch a history or even senior-year math requirement for a mandatory personal finance course, though. :shuffle:


It shouldn't be just "global studies" as a one or two-year unit. It should be global studies embedded in every course and curriculum, in the "think global" manner. To me that's the ideal. (snip) eta: Frankly I think Americans are victims of its geography (only having 2 nations as neighbors in the same continent) and the fact thtat they are speaking the world's most dominant language.

I think what we need is not more education but more travel. Get out of your sheltered life and see the world. Only by experience in the real world can people truly understand how other countries function. Unfortunately, being that America is so big and so physically isolated from Europe and Asia, that is financially impossible for many if not most Americans. Even students who can manage to go to college, semesters abroad aren't cheap. I think a state-to-state exchange program would be pretty cool.

PDilemma, that's one scary story. All that uproar over people who can't even vote! :lol: :rolleyes:

Vagabond
10-01-2011, 10:22 PM
Bilingual? When would I ever use that skill? I took 7 years of Spanish and hardly remember a thing - due to attrition of use, not disinterest.

Watching Spanish-language television
Listening to Spanish-language radio
Reading Spanish-language newspapers and periodicals
Reading Spanish-language books, often obtainable at general-interest bookstores that have "Libros en Espaņol" section or on line
Visiting Spanish-language websites for news, recipes, entertainment, etc.
Going on vacation in Spanish-speaking countries, most of which have few people who are fluent in English
In any number of jobs for which proficiency in Spanish is a requirement or an advantage; e.g., being a physician in Southern California
Interacting with the large number of people in this country whose first language is Spanish and whose proficiency in English is limited at best

barbk
10-01-2011, 10:59 PM
in general the standardized tests are asking for dates and when my sons were in school, it was not so important as the why, how and what but the when. So many teachers do not have the time to teach more than dates.

And FWIW - I suck at the geography game that someone posted a link several years ago. And given a blank outline of North America, I honestly couldn't identify where one border ended and other one started.

Was the game the evil Ubi? http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/169990/the-hardest-game-ever

I never knew there were so many islands I didn't know. Or how hard it is to know which German river is which on a map without political boundaries or cities labeled. :eek:

But on the standardized test issue, I'd have to disagree about it being primarily focused on dates. Most states don't even test Social Studies. Those that do usually use questions similar to the one's in California's released questions:
http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/documents/rtqgr8history.pdf

They're very, very strong on "describe, explain, or discuss" and there is virtually no need for a student to ever include a specific date. (Though understanding what happened in what particular sequence can be important.) Added to that, the scoring rubrics I've seen often tell scorers to ignore incorrect dates or misspellings of names and places.

California's released questions don't look awful to me. Ambitious, but not awful, and certainly not an expanded game of Trivial Pursuit.

Japanfan
10-01-2011, 11:18 PM
Japanfan: Is it really important to know the three largest cities in Canada? or the United States, or Mexico, or England?


It's important as general knowledge of the world we live in. And because knowing about places goes hand-in-hand with having an awareness of world beyond the place where you live.



I think what it more important is that population of cities/countries fluctuates and why. Why the US has a moire urban population and that diversity of the population is changing the way we do business or politics in the US.

I think that it is more important to know that the unsanitary conditions caused bubonic plague and how we dealt with those conditions is more important than the actual dates.

I think it is more important to know the reasons why Nazi Germany came to being and why World War 2 happened then actual dates.

I think that it is more important to know how the world changed because of the ability to mass produce printed word than the actual date of the printing press.

You get the idea. That the why and how and what is more important than the when

I don't disagree. But when you learn the why and how, you learn other details such as place. Dates are difficult to remember, but places are easy.

jlai
10-01-2011, 11:28 PM
I don't disagree. But when you learn the why and how, you learn other details such as place. Dates are difficult to remember, but places are easy.

Places aren't easy to remember, not to me. I mean, think China in 500 BC or some other date, and there was a battle in this ancient city which no longer exists and is now where? Not to mention the changes in names of regions over time. And on top of that, in the old days, they dated everything after the names of the emperors and you have to mentally convert Emperior X, Year 4 to a BC or AD date. :wuzrobbed

numbers123
10-02-2011, 12:23 AM
It's important as general knowledge of the world we live in..

I agree that it is important to know where this city or that city is placed in the world, but to know the three largest or more populous in each country is a little irrelevant.

Maybe important to know since there are cities that have the same name but located in different countries. Vancouver, London, etc.

Japanfan
10-02-2011, 01:41 AM
I agree that it is important to know where this city or that city is placed in the world, but to know the three largest or more populous in each country is a little irrelevant.


Is it irrelevant to know the three major cities in a country that is right on your border? I learned all the major American cities growing up in Canada, as a matter of course - not only in school. I don't consider that knowledge irrelevant at all since I live in the same part of the world and also, find the US interesting geographically.

In fact, most people in the developed world know the major American cities. Shouldn't Americans likewise be familiar with places outside the USA? The fact that many don't reflects the US's isolationist stance to a certain extent.

numbers123
10-02-2011, 02:29 AM
Maybe I am not clear. Why do you need to know the 3 MOST POPULOUS cities. Isn't it enough to know major cities? Population growth waxes and wans. For me to keep current on the population of a city is different that knowing three cities in Canada

Prancer
10-02-2011, 02:43 AM
Entire Spanish list

I took Spanish for years, too, but while I live in this country, I live in Ohio. There are very few Spanish-speaking people here and the ones I know speak English. No jobs here require Spanish proficiency, although it can be a benefit in medical work (but isn't necessary by any means). We don't have Spanish language TV (it is available in some cable packages, but is very limited, and we just have basic cable, anyway). There are no Spanish newspapers and I'd have to special order magazines or books. I don't vacation out of the country often enough for that to help me maintain a language.

If I lived in California or Texas or Arizona or Florida, I would probably use Spanish enough to remember some of it. As it is, *shrug*. I've had even less use for French, which I took strictly to pass a language test in grad school and cannot speak at all. I can read it, sort of, just as I can with Spanish--but the necessity never arises and the opportunity hardly ever comes up, either.

I could, of course, make it a priority, but why?


In fact, most people in the developed world know the major American cities. Shouldn't Americans likewise be familiar with places outside the USA?

Most Americans do know major cities outside of the US. They just don't know a whole lot about Canada. Most Americans couldn't care less about Canada. You can think that's awful if you like, but Canada simply isn't on our radar very often.

jlai
10-02-2011, 03:18 AM
Even in places like Texas, many students don't pick Spanish as a second language in high school. From my personal experience, many end up picking German or French or some other language based on what their friends are taking or what sounds cool or other reasons that don't have much to do with what language they need right now. And of course, these students wonder why they don't ever use the language they learn.

I always wish that they'd make Spanish the mandatory eta: second language to learn where it's prevalent enough to use on a daily basis. But alas, monolingualism runs deep even in places where people could use bilingualism .

vesperholly
10-02-2011, 03:47 AM
I took Spanish for years, too, but while I live in this country, I live in Ohio. There are very few Spanish-speaking people here and the ones I know speak English. No jobs here require Spanish proficiency, although it can be a benefit in medical work (but isn't necessary by any means). We don't have Spanish language TV (it is available in some cable packages, but is very limited, and we just have basic cable, anyway). There are no Spanish newspapers and I'd have to special order magazines or books. I don't vacation out of the country often enough for that to help me maintain a language.

If I lived in California or Texas or Arizona or Florida, I would probably use Spanish enough to remember some of it. As it is, *shrug*. I've had even less use for French, which I took strictly to pass a language test in grad school and cannot speak at all. I can read it, sort of, just as I can with Spanish--but the necessity never arises and the opportunity hardly ever comes up, either.

I could, of course, make it a priority, but why?
Exactly my point. thank you for wording it better than I could :)


Most Americans do know major cities outside of the US. They just don't know a whole lot about Canada. Most Americans couldn't care less about Canada. You can think that's awful if you like, but Canada simply isn't on our radar very often.

I would think that most Americans know at least Toronto, Vancouver (Olympics) and probably Ottawa (capitol) or Montreal. Beyond that would depend on personal interest and experience. I know quite a lot about Italian and especially Roman geography, mostly because I've been there.