On August 11 -15, 2013 the Canadian Association of Geographers will be having their annual general meeting held this year at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Prior to this meeting however, there is an incredibly important gathering happening – Geographic Education for Canadians: Vision, Engagement and Action. This is a joint meeting hosted by the Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG), the Royal Canadian Geographic Society (RCGS) and Canadian Geographic Education (CGE). The goal is to “strengthen geographic education in Canada by building a coalition of organizations and associations committed to effecting renewal and increased attention to geographical issues and pedagogy”.
In a nutshell, to bring Geography back into the classroom with the status and respect that it deserves… and so much more (my interpretation).
As part of the meeting, those attending have submitted position papers. These can be access here. These papers have been submitted by a variety of professionals in education as well as the private sector and make for some interesting if not sobering reading. They also offer glimmers of hope that there are others out there that see the immense value in Geographic Literacy and Geographic Education.
I encourage you to read the submitted position papers and ask yourself…
What can you do to further geo-literacy? Geospatial Niagara is here to promote, assist, connect, facilitate. Join us in spreading the “geographappiness”. Remember – Geography Awareness Week is November 17-23, 2013.
Geospatial Niagara seeks to play an active role in continuing this discussion when the Canadian Association of Geographers holds their 2014 Annual General Meeting at Brock University – May 26 – May 31, 2014. Contact us should you wish to assist in the planning.
Some position paper highlights:
Amanda Hooykaas (paper here)
“Geography does not need to remain in a vacuum where one either “is” a geographer or “isn’t” – we are all geographers of our own lives and our individual stories…. Collectively Geography is vibrant, dynamic and exciting and this needs to be pushed further – from the echelons of higher academia to preschools, to secondary schools, to everyday citizens.”
Bob Sharpe (paper here)
“I believe that geographic education is rich in high impact practices and that the content and skills geographic thinking can help to meet the needs of current students, whether or not they major in the discipline…we must continue to help educators develop and refine those high impact practices that make a difference to students.”
Peggy March (paper here)
“I am ever hopeful that this is the genesis of a new, sustainable, successful initiative and that the emergent strategy will leave a holistic lasting legacy. If not, we are lost again for another generation.”
Lynn Moorman (paper here)
“Geospatial knowledge, skills and “habits-of-mind” are increasingly required and valued as the roles of geospatial data and technologies become integral to the effective functioning of society.”
Karl Donert (paper here)
“Geography is unique in bridging social (human) sciences and the natural (physical) sciences… we need to actively work together to position and promote geography, so that we can ensure the discipline receives the status, position and respect it should have a s a core subject in schools…”
Jean Andrey (paper here)
“My dream is that we can develop structures and momentum to connect geographic education and practice from elementary school through to professional careers.”
Al Friesen (paper here)
“…we cannot expect our students to get a strong geographic education if faculties of education do not equip teachers to do so… If young children and those in their pre-teen years do not have the opportunity and encouragement to develop quality geographic literacy, we should not expect miracles when they arrive in the post –secondary geography and teacher-training classrooms.”
Niem Tu Huynh (paper here)
“Local professionals and faculty can act as resources, either as presenters, to respond to geography related enquiries from the community, or other engagements.”
James Boxall (paper here)
“This is about the whole of geography; it’s not just geomatics. It is about the sector in government, business, citizens groups and NGO’s. It is about all of us who seem genetically geared to think and work spatially.”
** At the time of writing I had not seen the position paper by Brent Hall but it is accessible (here)