This is how geography is learned, why we did map outlines in school as children. You are supposed to be able to tell were states and countries are by which continent they are on and then the shape and location of the state or country on that continent. Details like rivers make it easier, I don't know if that was included, but they should be able to find a state in their own country for chrissakes! This is just ignorance, period.
I'm good at geography (not because of schooling, which I found dull and forgot) because my interest in the world made me a person who liked to look at and study maps. People in the US are very provincial and don't have much curiosity about the world around them.
answer 70k died in an earthquake. i wouldnt have been able to come up with that one. i knew about it. but would just float out of brain as answer.
finding the countries? i am politically active so i know, otherwise i dont know that i would. war with iraq brought me to pulling out the map and studying it. and all the little countries involved, but that info comes and goes in my brain. i look often for reminders location
the united states, pathetic. my niece and her friend as sophmores proudly said one day, dont know where new mexico is (we live in texas) and dont remember which is a part of u.s. new mexico or mexico. my then 8 year old and 5 year old were amazed at their ignorance and attitude of thinking it was cute.
14. My god, I live in a country filled with morons.
Every time I step out of my house I'm painfully aware of how ignorant our society is. These are the same people who thought george bush was a great guy (still is to some of them) and a fantastic leader. :eyes: I have a very low threshold when it comes to stupidity. Sometimes I'm not quite sure if breathing is an involuntary function for them, that they may forget. :eyes: This is the what the Republicans love though, this is their "base". Stupid and easily lead.
My company hired a young man who had moved here from South Africa. (He was white.) When he came by our office to fill out paperwork, our office manager asked me where he was from. I recognized the accent as either Dutch or Afrikaner, so I told her so. She gave me a blank look, so I repeated myself. She told me he must be Dutch then, because there are no white people in Africa. I was floored - I quizzed her on her knowledge of the region and she:
A) Had no idea what apartheid is, B) Was unaware of the difference between Africa the continent and S.Africa the country C) Conceded there might be whites in Africa, but they were probably "all scientists" (I'm guessing she was referring to anthropologists?)
22. (Gads!) When I was about 5 years old in the late 40s, I could locate ...
... about 90-95% of the world's countries on a globe my grandfather had, and I knew about 50% of the capitol cities. It's not so much that I was precocious - it was regarded by my family as basic knowledge. My family had NO college graduates. My grandfather was a Norwegian immigrant with only a 4th grade formal education. He was a blue collar worker - a skilled machinist. This was BASIC knowledge.
41. It was called Siam until 1939. The back-and-forth name change ...
Edited on Tue May-02-06 01:09 PM by TahitiNut
... was based on the overthrow of the hereditary monarchy, both by the Japanese and subsequently a military dictatorship. The name 'Thailand' was thus first associated with (and sponsored by) militarism and geographers varied in their acceptance and recognition of the name ... which didn't really 'stabilize' until the 50s. Growing up in a middle-class blue collar family in the 40s, our globe and atlases were pre-WW2.
(It took somewhat longer to change the name of 'The Gulf of Siam' to 'The Gulf of Thailand.')
I abbreviated my list. I wouldn't betting we all collected stamps when we were kids:)
Can be get quite nostalgic when I find an elderlie world atlas with all of the original names from the days of the empire and the colonies . Did you know that America's original name on the first map was Merica . I forget why the A was added before the map was printed - something to do with masculine/feminine in another language : Portugese or Italian I think..
Being able or not being able to find a country on a map isn't the main thing that concerns me.
Understanding the politics of the situations in those countries is more important. I'd rather have students that know what happened in the Gulf of Tonkin than students that can find it on a map.
I'm not claiming that people are smarter than the test shows, just to be clear. I'm trying to say that even if 100% of Americans could find Iraq on a map, that's not necessarily a good indicator of their actual intelligence on the issues related to Iraq. That focus on memorized facts without meaning is a pet peeve of mine when it comes to standardized testing and education.
it's not an either or thing. If they get Iran and Iraq switched around on a map, it's not a big deal, and if they can explain the long history of the two countries' antagonism toward each other, well, that's much more important.
However... you do have to know that the countries border each other to understand what's going on.
It may not seem important to know where Louisiana is on a map, but if you don't understand that it's on the Gulf of Mexico and that it's at the mouth of the Mississippi River, then you don't really have a CLUE why New Orleans flooded and what might be done about it and who or what to blame.
In my Ideal School that I'm going to start one day, kids would learn to identify places on maps as BACKGROUND for understanding history and politics -- memorizing facts would not be the end goal, but they would definitely be learned. You can do both critical thinking and rote learning -- they complement each other!
Or as I like to say, you can't think critically if you don't know anything to think critically about...
And every generation gets a chance to be appalled at how stoopid 'Merican kids r today...
I read a lot of military history myself, and one book made the point that the govt. in WWII was actually worried at how little geography Americans knew...especially since they were about to go to places they'd never heard of and get shot at.
The troops going to Europe were in marginally better shape than the ones slated for the Pacific. Not many people knew where the hell anything was west of Hawaii.
If you were an average American civilian in 1942, you'd probably never heard of Wake Island or Midway unless you had stopped there while flying on one of the fantastic Pan Am Clippers. And you would have only done that if you were a very rich American or a senior military officer.
But how about Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Papua New Guinea and Iwo Jima? Not exactly household words and all the sites of horrific battles.
Even the govt. was in the dark about some of this real estate, and had to rely on the memories of people like construction workers and missionaries.
Oh, maybe this will make you feel better about the whole thing:
A test administered in 1915 and 1916 to hundreds of high school and college students who were about to face World War I found that they did not know what happened in 1776 and confused Thomas Jefferson with Jefferson Davis.
A 1943 test showed that only a quarter of college students could name two contributions made by either Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln, leading historian Allan Nevins to fret that such a historically illiterate bunch might be a liability on the battlefields of Europe in World War II.
And still, Americans won both wars, and many of the 1943 students who said the United States purchased Alaska from the Dutch and Hawaii from Norway were later lionized in books, movies and television as "the Greatest Generation."
It's just that their hard-drives are filled with pop trivia.
Those people that missed those questions, can name obscure sports stats from the 1960's, know the complete history of Brittney Spears or just about any hollywood star(including their political views), With amazing speed they can whip out a Bible quote for any situation they run across and they can tell you what type of tires Jeff Gordon uses on the roundy round.
We just have a anti-intellectual streak. It is cultural. If you go back far enough, that wasn't the case, but then we still had a society that was strongly influenced by European backgrounds. Knowledge and education were valued. Reading civil war letters between ordinary soldiers and their families will amaze anyone who has an appreciation of the english language. We weren't distracted by the media, then. We were, by necessity, a more literate people. Now we have all the information in the world at our fingertips... but aren't interested in much outside our own hobbies and obsessions.
A couple of years ago we were on vacation through the Southwestern US, we stopped for a few days in New Mexico, later she asked me how come we weren't stopped at the border. I thought I would die laughing, then I explained that since New Mexico was a state of the Union we could come and go there whenever we wanted. This coming from a woman who has been educated very liberally in the last 21 years. I guess I haven't done as good a job as I thought.
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