Hi Allison,For me in Honduras I was taught that there were five continents: America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Then we learnt about certain divisions within continents, East/West Europe, Middle East, Australia/Oceania, North, Central and South America. There are variations in the way it is taught now differentiating geographic areas due to history and also the use of American as the demonym for US citizens.I believe the variations also have to do with those who write the books and where they get their facts from. I have noticed for example in history of Honduras books a lot of variations depending on the authors. An example is related to national heroes, we used to learn about some real life national heroes that shaped our country's history and now in some newer books we see that those who we were taught were real life heroes are now only legends or myths. So there might be the same influence in terms of how geography is taught is different places of the world.I just want to add in terms of learning about geography and history in our country within our secondary school curriculum we have history/geography of Honduras, of America (the continent) and the World. Our social studies subject at the primary level also includes a similar division and even at the undergraduate level General History is taught similarly. It would be interesting to learn how curriculums for the different levels are designed and who are the authors of the books/materials/resources used. Finding out about this would maybe provide some insight as to why these subjects have the content they have and why we see variations in other countries.Thanks for bringing this up for discussion to understand differences not only in how language is taught/learnt but other cultural influences we have in education.
All,I don't usually intervene in discussions on TESOL, but only wish to do so here because this one seems to be entirely missing the point. Not everyone in the world learns geography the same way. In my second lifelong language French, there are only six continents. In others, there are only four or five. Obviously, ELLs are going to be confused in the same way they're confused that "pants" is always plural in English whereas it's singular (and the same word!) in Arabic, Spanish, French, and Turkish. Trying to understand logically is useless. You have to look at each language in its own context and history. This is why, in my humble opinion, the best professional development for ESL instructors-far more than a conference or degree-is to live in a non-English-speaking country extensively and thoroughly learn another language.
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Bradley HodgesInstructorThe English Language InstituteGeorgia Gwinnett CollegeLawrenceville, GA