Travelling through geography

Jerry Jean Preston

A geography teacher should have a fund of travel narratives. These are stories about journeys to different places. Personal narratives certainly strike a chord with children and adults alike. They are a colourful tool to impress geographical details in the listener’s mind. How do you go about collecting travel narratives?

Well, the most obvious way, of course, is to travel!

village-setting
Photo: Sakti Prasanna Mohanty; Courtesy: DAV Public School, Pokhariput
It helps if the geography teacher can actually invest some time and money for travel. This will be a priceless value addition to her profession. In this respect, the teacher can definitely profit from the school trip, as they are often subsidised for her. She can play an important role in the selection of destinations for the annual field trips and study tours. It need not always be an exotic location. Sometimes even a visit to the local village can be educational for both teachers and students from cities. However, the teacher should remember to do a bit of research in the geography of the place before escorting her students for the trip.

And what exactly should be included in the travel narrative? If the teacher limits herself to mundane geographical details, the narrative will turn out to be just another flavourless geography class. Instead, she should seek out interesting ‘geo-trivia’ that will make the region’s geography worth remembering.

During the trip, the teacher should keep her eyes peeled for details that will illustrate the geography and will be lively. Don’t merely observe that the climate is . . . the soil is . . . the animals were . . . and so on. Compare this knowledge with that of your own region. Find patterns between human lifestyles and natural geography. Ask why? Why do they wear this kind of attire? Why the unique architecture for their homes?

The author is in the process of completing her PhD. She is interested in developing methods that will make the teaching-learning process a more interesting one. She can be reached at jjean960@gmail.com.

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