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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Sunday, January 24, 2010

When every reason is the wrong one

Categories: s1 and s2, Environmental Hazards

I am normally keen to teach events in Geography as they are happening. I think it helps validate the relevance of the subject for the students studying it. I am ashamed about the reasons I have purposefully left Haiti out of lessons in the last week. The first reason is that I immediately started to think about it from a geographical standpoint- plate boundaries, earthquakes, epicentres, aftershocks etc. I was bypassing the human tragedy to get some relevance for a lesson and wasn't comfortable doing that. That brings me to the second and much more personally disappointing reason. I have spent the time since the earthquake avoiding news reports of that same human tragedy, listening with half an ear from a distance, aware that something dreadful might have been happening to thousands of people, but turning the radio off or switching channels on the television, going back to whatever I was doing. Maybe I didn't feel like handling that scale of devastation or perhaps I felt guilty about my own life in contrast, or maybe it was just convenient to ignore it. Whatever the reason, it's inexcusable. I have been catching up tonight and feel even more embarassed by a lack of interest and action.
It's easy to look then turn away, but the reality for people in Haiti is that they can't just turn it all off and go back to eating their dinner. Maybe the students I teach can do a better job as citizens than me. I have several questions for the class tomorrow; Why, if at all, is it important that children in Scotland know about Haiti (is it?)-this could really influence the shape of the lesson. If we assume that it is important, what should people know? Who should know and how should we tell them? If charities are involved, which ones deserve our support (it might be all)? I have some ideas, but would much rather the students provided the answers for themselves. I would also welcome comments that the students might refer to during and after their discussions which may have some bearing on the decisions they might make.


At 11:10 am, Anonymous Claire O'Gallagher said...

Hope you don't mind Kenny, but I thought this was really interesting and have linked to it in my latest blog post.

I think it's such a difficult issue and especially with a Geography class I can understand why it's hard - it sounds like if you do cover it with your classes though it's after a great deal of consideration - never a bad thing!

At 1:14 pm, Blogger GeoBlogs said...

A very thoughtful post Kenny.


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