Main objectives of teaching geography
The objectives are the specific and precise behavioral outcome of teaching a particular topic in geography. Any topic in geography helps in realizing some general aim of teaching geography. The characteristics of a good objective are as under:
(i) It should be specific and precise.
(ii) It should be attainable.
Bloom's taxonomy of objectives
Bloom's taxonomy of objectives is a classification of instructional objectives in a hierarchy. According to it the specific objectives have been classified into the following three categories:
(i) Cognitive domain objectives.
(ii) Affective domain objectives.
(iii) Psychomotor domain objectives.
The cognitive domain objectives include knowledge, understandings, applications, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
The effective domain objectives include the appreciations, values, attitudes, interests and feelings.
The psychomotor domain objectives include skills.
Some of these are discussed here.
(i) Intellectual Development:
The basic objective of education is to bring about an all round development of the personality of the child. All round development includes the intellectual development. A proper intellectual development is a must for any proper cultural consciousness.
To earn a livelihood is not the sole objective of life. One needs leisure after earning his livelihood and one should be able to spend one's leisure time properly and usefully.
This leisure time should be used for intellectual and spiritual development for a balanced growth of human race. It is only through the intellectual development that we can distinguish between good and bad. This power of distinguishing between good and bad is essential to become a successful member of society.
(ii) Knowledge of the world and the broadening outlook:
Geography teaching provides to the pupil knowledge of the different people of the world and the contributions made by them for the development of world culture. Such knowledge broadens our outlook and brings about the development of world brotherhood and world citizenship.
Through the knowledge of geography the pupil realizes the interdependence of mankind. He also becomes familiar with the differences in the physical character of the people and understands that such differences are due to variations in physical environments, thus we find that development of the international outlook is one of the aims and objectives of teaching of geography.
(iii) Development of quality of generosity and sympathetic outlook:
From the knowledge of geography a pupil realizes the interdependence of mankind and develops a sympathetic attitude when he observes a similarity of needs all over the world. Such an attitude helps them to grow not only as good citizens but as good world citizens. This type of feeling if developed will boost the idea of world democracy and will help world peace for all times to come.
(iv) Quality of adjustment with environment:
Since in geography a student is taught about people of different lands, their culture, their mode of living etc. This knowledge develops in the student the quality to mould and change himself in accordance with the circumstances and he acquires the quality of adjusting with the environment. This type of adjustment is useful for his future life.
(v) Economic Efficiency:
From the study of the geographical conditions of various lands the student comes to realize that it is not possible to maintain the same standards of comforts all over the world. Geography lays down the foundation for economic, social and political problems.
The advancement of a country is measured by the services it renders to other nations. The knowledge of geography helps the pupil to render any such service and to earn his livelihood. Thus geography makes a student self-sufficient.
(vi) Development of power of reasoning, invention and discovery:
Like any other subject the study of geography develops in the pupil certain mental faculties. The pupils have to reason out many things on the basis of data provided. This develops in the pupils the power of reasoning.
In the process of learning geography students many a times come across various secrets of nature which helps them to acquire an outlook of inventions and discoveries. It fits well with the aim of geography teaching which requires development of imagination power. Geography being a science oriented subject an effort is also made to find a cause and effect relationship which helps to develop the power of reasoning in the student.
(vii) Development of Balanced personality:
The knowledge of physical factors and environment that a student acquires from study of Geography helps him to develop his personality and this allows the individual to grow properly. In this way a pupil can acquire a balanced personality by making proper use of his knowledge of geography.
(viii) Love for nature, travels and knowledge about other countries:
Geography broadens the mind and stimulates imagination with the information it provides. It encourages travel. The knowledge gained by such travels helps the pupil in meeting many a problems of everyday life.
A student of geography can appreciate the beauty of nature better and thus geography develops in the student a love for nature. When a student of geography is taught about the beauties of nature, such as snow clad mountains, green forests and the animal wealth, he is bound to be attached towards nature.
This attachment towards nature might cultivate in him a sense of responsibility for the care and protection of nature and its beauty. The study of landscape may become a good pastime with him.
A student of geography when told about other countries and their culture gets inspired to take a travel and to know more about those countries. Culture is the sympathetic appreciation of the universal truth expressed in art, literature, philosophy, science and religion. It sharpens man's instinct to know the unknown, to see the unseen and to fathom the unfathomed.
(ix) Acquisition of knowledge of Natural Resources:
It is the primary duty of a geography teacher to contribute his mite towards the realization of primary aim of education by taking such measures which may ensure sound factual knowledge, a clear understanding of factual relationship and a keen development of intellectual powers.
Students of today shall be citizens of tomorrow and the knowledge of natural resources and economic conditions gained by him by study of geography will help him to play his part effectively in administration and economic development of his country.
(x) Development of International Understanding:
Development of international understanding is one of the important aims of teaching of geography. In one of its publications UNESCO suggests, "Geography demonstrates that throughout the ages none has been able to boast that he can exist".
The interdependence of man and nature has increased enormously. From one's study of different people of the world one knows that all nations, large and small, depend upon each other economically, culturally and socially.
Such interdependence imposes certain duties on each man and on each nation. It is the duty of the geography teacher to point out to international pacts and international organizations which are busy in solving complex problems of economic interdependence and international solidarity. Knowledge of geography helps to bridge the gap and help in avoiding conflict by bringing about international understanding.
This very fact has been corroborated in Norwood report, "curriculum and examinations in secondary schools". In this report it has been emphasized that, "no one can realize more vividly than the trained geographer that the regions of the world are interdependent and no one can base the approach to world harmony on sounder foundations".
(xi) Knowledge about influences of geographical factors on man:
The knowledge about influences of various geographical factors on man is another important aim of study of geography. From his knowledge of geography a student can better understand the influence of various geographical factors on man. For example the Tundra residents are meat eaters because of the compulsions of various geographical factors.
(xii) Help Development of Human Civilization:
Civilization and culture of an area are influenced by various geographical factors. We know that many a civilizations came into existence and many a civilization vanished because of geographical factors. To make a study of such factors is an important aim of the study of geography.
Such knowledge can be used by an individual to compare himself and his circumstances with other individuals and their circumstances. Such a comparison is useful in making a proper assessment of one's owns elf and that of one's own motherland. This assessment will help the individual in proper discharge of his duties towards others.
(xiii) Development of a Nation:
The knowledge of geography makes an important contribution towards the development of a country. When each country depends on others the study of geography becomes essential. In order to create a desire in a child to serve willingly his country and his fellowmen the teachers should make them understand thoroughly the geography of their country.
The pupil is allowed to feel the political, social and racial ties of his country from the study of books, direct observations and experiences and let the child develop a constructive attitude to all that concerns his country. The teacher should impart him such lessons which arouse his interest in his surroundings.