Royal Canadian Geographical Society

August 07, 2013 12:28 ET

Media Advisory: Are We Failing Our Kids at Teaching Basic Geography?

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 7, 2013) -

What: GEOGRAPHIC EDUCATION FOR CANADIANS: VISION, ENGAGEMENT AND ACTION
When: 8:30 - 5:30, Saturday, August 10th, 2013
Where: Marine Institute, 155 Ridge Road, St. John's, NL
Who: The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Canadian Association of Geographers

Imagine meeting a businessperson who doesn't know where Africa is or can't identify the Atlantic Ocean.

Last January, a group of Memorial University sociology students in St. John's, N.L. made headlines when their professor revealed that many of them couldn't identify the world's continents. Some couldn't even identify the ocean that surrounds their province. After this initial disclosure, other Canadian university professors have come forward, divulging that Memorial University isn't the only institution with geo-illiterate students.

This set off alarm bells for geographers across Canada.

This coming weekend, geographers from across Canada are participating in a high-level meeting in St. John's, where the alarm bell was first sounded. They want to chart a plan of action to raise the profile of geography and to underline the importance of geoliteracy in the 21st century. John Geiger, CEO of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, says, "We short-change tomorrow's citizens and Canada's future when we don't provide today's students with a solid geographic education that ensures they are both geographically and spatially literate."

This meeting of national and international experts is a vital step in developing a national agenda for progressive change and building a coalition of organizations and individuals who are dedicated to the geographic literacy of all Canadians. If the results of Memorial professor Judith Adler geography proved anything, the status quo in Canadian geography education is not good enough.

NOTE: Information on the meeting, the participants and position papers is available at: http://spatial-information.org/geoed/

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