Main factors that influence the proper understanding of maps and charts in teaching Geography:
Maps are an integral part of the teaching of Geography so it is necessary to understand certain factors that influence the proper understanding of maps and charts.
They are explained below:
(1) It is difficult to draw maps correctly on the black-board. Sometimes boundary lines are wrong. It is always better to have drawn maps. Such maps present the boundary lines in a correct manner.
If such maps are available the students shall be able to fill in the things properly. Maps with the correct boundary lines are more necessary for the students correctly so that things do not go wrong. Once a student commits a mistake he perpetuates it.
(2) It is necessary to give practice to the students in the use of maps. Every student must have an Atlas. In the Atlas he can locate the rivers, directions of their flow etc. Similarly he can see a mountain and have an idea about it. He can also see the location of the city and other things.
(3) It is difficult to draw maps and sketches correctly on the basis of memory at least for the students who are learners in the field. They should be given proper practice and opportunity to draw maps.
(4) Students must have a correct idea of the things about which they have to draw maps. Otherwise it is not possible to draw maps properly. The outlines of the maps should be given correctly and properly. In other words, the students should have exact knowledge of the outlines about which the maps have to be drawn.
(5) It is desirable to encourage the students to fill in the maps with colour, which helps to develop the aesthetic sense of the students and makes them interested in the drawing of the maps. Use of coloured pencils helps to distinguish and discriminate between different things. It is, therefore, useful to encourage the students to use coloured pencils.
(6) Unless the students get an opportunity to study the maps properly it shall not be possible for them to interpret these maps in a correct way. Proper study of the maps means that the students should have perfect idea of whole country whose map they are studying.
It is wise to repeat the use of the maps and globes in order to clear the doubts of the students and give them a correct idea of the things. In fact the students should be encouraged to make friendship with the maps. Such a practice would encourage them to know things properly and have details about it.
(7) Fiacre has said that 99% of Geography is taught through maps. It is through the maps that it is possible to have proper interpretation of the subject-matter of Geography. On the other hand if the students are not made to practice the use of the maps properly, it may prove to be disastrous. It is quite possible that they may have a wrong idea of the whole thing and their knowledge of Geography may be incomplete.
Really speaking maps are a very important aid for the teaching of Geography. It is with the help of these maps and sketches that it is possible to draw a proper picture of the geographical factors on the minds of the students.
After some time these factors become a part of the memory of the students. They may repeat the things like various events of a film. Once the student has learnt the things with the help of the maps, he can strengthen the knowledge with the help of the sense organs.
Truly speaking the knowledge gained by a student with the help of the maps becomes thorough. The student becomes well aware of the knowledge of the country who’s Geography he has read with the help of the maps.