Sandra Schmidt published in Social Education

| November 14, 2011

The Social Studies program is pleased to announce that its newest faculty member, Sandra Schmidt,  has been published in last month’s Social Education. Her article, “Who Lives on the Other Side of That Boundary: A Model of Geographic Thinking,” considers the idea that questioning the logic behind how we divide continents could be one way to get students engaged in geography. Schmidt explains:

Geography has a bad rap.  The many public critics who talk about the way in which Americans cannot locate places on a map miss the real problem in geography education.  This article, written for classroom teachers, argues that the critical geographic problem is that students do not have a rich understanding of places nor the tools to consider the implications of assigning meaning to places.  The article includes a detailed description of a lesson called, “What happens when I divide the continents here?”, which serves as an example of how to teach students to make inquiries about places and understand how and why the Other is represented in geographic text.  The lesson which forces students to make decisions about boundaries while also studying their inconsistencies places students within a global political and economic debate about how and where to connect adjacent countries.  Divides are not natural and the way in which they are made position us to see the world in particular ways.