Notes on the comparative method of teaching geography

In this method students are encouraged to compare various geographical features.

To start with students are asked to know about the geographical features of their neighborhood and then make a comparison with the features of city and village.

They may then be asked to make a comparison of geographical features of a country with those of the other country. In this way the knowledge gained gets stabilized and it becomes permanent. In this method teacher is at liberty to proceed from known to unknown.

The student’s precious knowledge may be compared with the new knowledge acquired by him. This method is quite useful in assimilation of ideas.

The comparison may be carried out not only of the physical features of one region with those of another but for comparison purpose we can include the products and other things of one particular region and make a comparison of these things of the other region.


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In the words of Prof. Macnee, “Psychologists have emphasized the important part played in the assimilation of new ideas by the existing content of the mind. The mind tends to interpret the new in terms of the old.

It is well, therefore, for the teacher, wherever possible to bring the new ideas which he wishes to present into relation with the previous experiences of the pupils; in other words, to track new knowledge on to old. This is the psychological basis for pedagogical maxim; ‘proceed from known to unknown’:”

While explaining the method he further remarked, “Prompted by this ideas the framers of geography courses usually begin the primary courses with things that are familiar to the pupils, the school building and grounds, the village, the local river, the nearest railway line.


From the pupils’ home and from the things that he can see with his own eyes his geographical knowledge is extended outwards of the districts, state country and continent.”

This method is not very useful in lower classes but is of great value for teaching geography in higher classes. Writing about the method Prof. B.C. Wallis has rightly remarked, “Comparisons and contracts are the essence of geography teaching at senior stage.”

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