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The Journal of Geography

Published Monthly except July and August

Successor to the Journal of School Geography, Vol. V, and the Bulletin of the American Bureau of Geography, Vol. II.



Associate Editor LAWRENCE MARTIN.

Of the Department of Geology and Geography, University of Wisconsin

Contributing Editors, 1914-15

ISAIAH BOWMAN, Assistant Professor of Geography, Yale University.

JAMES F. CHAMBERLAIN, Professor of Geography, State Normal School, Lor Angles, Cal.

W. N. CLIFFORD, Southern High School, Philadelphia, Pa.

GEORGE E. CONDRA, Professor of Geography, University of Nebraska.
RICHARD E. DODGE, Professor of Geography, Teachers College, New York.
WILLIAM M. DAVIS, Professor of Geology, Harvard University.
PHILIP EMERSON, Principal Cobbet Grammar School, Lynn, Mass.

N. M. FENNEMAN, Professor of Geology, University of Cincinnati.
WILLIAM M. GREGORY, Professor of Geography, Normal School, Cleveland, O.
J. PAUL GOODE, Associate Professor of Geography, University of Chicago.
MARK JEFFERSON, Professor of Geography, State Normal College, Ypsilanti

EDWARD M. LEHNERTS, Assistant Professor of Geology and Geography, University of Minnesota.

CHARLES A. MCMURRY, Professor of Psychology and Pedagogy, State Normal School, De Kalb, Ill.



ROBINSON, Professor of Economics,

University of

WILLIAM J. SUTHERLAND, President Sate Normal School, Platteville, Wis. ROBERT DeC. WARD, Professor of Climatology, Harvard University.

Contributing Editors for Great Britain and Germany.

A. J. HERBERTSON, Reader in Geography, Oxford University.
MARTHA K. GENTHE, Chemnitz, Germany.

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V. C. FINCH, Business Manager

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.






By R. H. Whitbeck,

University of Wisconsin, Madison


7HAT is the present situation in this country with respect to geography
in the high schools?


1. Ninety per cent of the students who enter normal schools and colleges are deficient even in the elements of general geography, a condition which has no adequate defense.

2. The physical geography of the high school does little to improve this condition so far as a knowledge of general geography is concerned.

3. Geography is discontinued too soon in the grades. St. Louis, for example, reports that only 4.8 per cent of the recitation hours of its elementary schools is given to geography.

4. The physical geography of the past generation has not proved wholly satisfactory, and is being replaced by the so-called humanized geography. It is feeling the effect of the socializing of the curriculum.

On the other side of the situation appear the following facts:

1. Geography as a college study is developing rapidly, and trained teachers for the high schools are becoming available, a condition which has only lately existed.

There is a growing interest in geography among educated people generally both evidenced by, and helped by, the great circulation of the National Geographic Magazine and shown by the increase in geographical societies, and their activities.

3. Textbooks in humanized geography have already been issued and have been heartily received, and there is a demand for even a further emphasis upon applied geography in high school texts.

4. The geographical element in other branches of learning is receiving increased recognition. For example, the U. S. Department of Agriculture has trained geographers at work on the preparation of an Agricultural Atlas of the United States. The Carnegie Foundation has historians and geographers at work on an Atlas of American History. The Geological Surveys of Wisconsin, Illinois, and some other states are issuing geographical as well as geological reports, especially for educational use.

*Read before the Science section of the National Education Association at St. Paul, July 7, 1914.

5: Geographical knowledge is an essential part of an education and upon its own merits will command and hold a place in the schools. But behind any study there must be an organized body of teachers to guide its development and maintain an esprit de corps. The conviction is growing that there must be a national organization of geography teachers as there is of history teachers, English teachers, Latin teachers, etc.


But why is geography an integral part of a high school education? American History, Ancient History, Mediaeval History, Modern History are all taught and believed in. These are records of what peoples and nations did yesterday and the day before. But is a knowledge of Germany of the 16th century more valuable than a knowledge of Germany of the 20th century? Any study of nations and peoples which omits their study as they are today is manifestly dictated by tradition, not by the needs of people. History is one of the most broadening studies in the curriculum, but there is no defense for ending the study of countries with the 19th century. To him who would be an intelligent actor in the world's affairs today, the political and economic geography of today is one of the most practical of studies.


There are at least four things which must be accomplished by a high school course in geography. First, it must give the pupil a fund of useful geographical knowledge; the kind that will serve him in the various activities of life where intelligent citizenship is required. We shall find it difficult to defend the teaching of the causes of the Peloponnesian War, the details of the Amphictyonic Council, and scores of similar matters of ancient and mediaeval history, which we drill into school children, while, at the same time we excuse a school which makes no serious effort to give its pupils an understanding of modern Germany, Japan, or Argentina. The life and industries of the people of Babylon and Thebes is a proper subject of study, but it is not a substitute for a knowledge of modern Mexico, Canada, or Russia. Before an impartial jury what defense has the study of the 2000-year old struggle between Sparta and Athens or between Persia and Greece, for crowding out of our schools anything like an adequate treatment of the countries which dominate the world today? The geography which is going to be demanded tomorrow is the geography which makes people reasonably intelligent about the cities and countries and peoples of their own day, as well as of those of long ago. This is politico-economic geography. It is a social science, but it will, I hope, be built upon a knowledge of the principles of physical geography. In Germany, France, Holland, Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavia, geography is nearly always closely affiliated with history and is often taught by the same teacher.

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