In this article, Alex Rossimel shares why he and many students at Fintona are so passionate about the study of Geography.
When asked about learning Geography, one of our Middle School students responded insightfully saying that, ‘Geography opens a window for us to learn about, and connect with, the world around us. We are encouraged to consider the future of the planet and what we can do to protect it.’ Our students at Fintona really are curious about the diversity of the world’s places, peoples, cultures, and environments.
The word education has its origins in the Latin word ‘educere’ which means to ‘lead or draw something out’ of oneself. However, at times education has become more focused on careers than on providing the opportunity for students to be truly ‘educated’ – to develop and expand the knowledge and skills that will enable them to fulfill their potential and become well-rounded graduates and future citizens. Among the Business Council of Australia’s top employability skills are problem-solving, critical thinking and teamwork. Creating ‘job-ready graduates’ can diminish these skills and the true purpose of education. The study of Geography develops students’ ability to question, think critically, solve problems, and communicate effectively, the skills that employers are really looking for.
In the past, Geography lessons focused on learning capital cities, rivers and key features of countries of the world. Geography now asks students to determine how they will choose to respond to the myriad of environmental and social issues humans face. Year 7 students who study the uneven distribution of water resources, and Year 10 students who study the disparity of wealth and wellbeing around the world (and in our own country), analyse the causes, impacts and responses to these issues. Geography students learn to understand such global issues and build capacity to be active and informed citizens. Geography provides the perfect vehicle for students to evaluate the sustainability of our interactions with the world around us, as individuals, as a school and as a species. More than ever, knowing how to use our resources responsibly is vital for both present and future generations.
Studying Geography develops an array of intellectual, spatial, and practical skills. Students enjoy going on fieldtrips as they learn about places themselves by observing, collecting and recording information and data and then by representing, analysing and communicating their findings.
Thus, Geography has a distinctive and vital place in the curriculum, for the future of our planet. Perhaps the last word should come from another Middle School student at Fintona: ‘I like Geography because of the relation it has to the real world. It’s very hands-on and engaging. It really encourages us to think.’
Humanities Learning Leader