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Issue Vol. 70, No. 1

Publication Date: July, 2019

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President's Message  

Page: 4

Author(s): Geddes, Ewan

Some of you may be getting ready to do some prep work for another school year.  While you do so, remember that OAGEE is available to support as you move forward in your education career. There have been many changes in Ontario education this year - the cancellation of phase two of the Canadian and World Studies (CWS) curriculum revision that was to have Indigenized the curriculum, cuts impacting how many and which Geography courses will be available for students to enroll in, and realignment of Geography’s position within their instructional frameworks to mention just a few. The government’s cancellation of phase 2 of CWS revision has taken place alongside the introduction of the revised First Nations, Métis and Inuit Studies grade 11 and 12 curriculum comprised entirely of elective courses. Where the Indigenization of the CWS curriculum as a whole would have integrated the Indigenous perspective and views with an authentic influence on the curriculum, the new FNMI document will help support teachers delivering these select few courses and may also help teachers wanting to bring more Indigenous content into their own teaching. This is not an ideal situation as there will be much less consistency across the provinces as to what and how much Indigenous learning is actually taking place. Where does this leave Indigenous teaching in the Geography curriculum? The front matter of the FNMI document should provide some direction for CWS courses, and teachers should continue their own professional learning. Many boards are also providing PD on Indigenizing and decolonizing the curriculum. Teachers can also reach out to Indigenous elders and traditional knowledge keepers for their expertise and perspective. On top of curriculum revision many senior Geography courses do not seem to be running as they have done in the past in parts of the province. Some Boards, including the province’s largest, the TDSB, have moved away from a central Geography and Social Science instructional leadership role to one that puts these curriculum areas under the direction of ESL. Geography teachers in boards across the province are experiencing similar restructuring. While ESL numbers have certainly increased throughout the province, the need for geographic education has also increased. Geography helps people not only to ask What is where? Why there? Why care? but also to understand our world as it is now and into the future. Geography teaches students about issues, how to understand them, and then supports them to develop plans to solve the problems. Geography helps people understand some of the world’s biggest challenges, like the uptick in the number of migrants in search of refuge and our decades-old climate crisis. Furthermore, using the Geographic Perspective (Social, Economical, Environmental, and Political Perspective) to make sense of proposed projects like Smart City T.O. will allow students to better understand the actual impacts such a project could have, locally, nationally, and globally. To quote Penn State’s Geospatial Revolution, the changing world we face “has made Geography ordinary”. Geography needs to be put on the map again. How can the relevance of Geography be shown as we all know it should be? To answer this question, OAGEE is in the process of making current and relevant materials available to its members to take up the slack that the boards have created to deal with the cuts imposed on them. As part of this process, we are revamping our website to reach out to other stakeholders such as Can Geo Ed who support Geography. On this note I, as President of OAGEE, am reaching out to members for suggestions. How might OAGEE support you in your teaching as the cuts to education start to be felt in September? How might fellow members support each other across the province? It isn’t all doom and gloom, though. Excellent work is being done to make students excited about Geography. The first annual OAGEE/Can Geo Ed/ESRI Story Map competition was a great success. The top three maps and top two notable maps are attached for your exploration. There is potential for this competition to grow in the future. I would encourage more teachers to get involved by submitting a few examples of student work to help build the contest. I hope everyone has a relaxing summer and comes back rejuvenated in September.

CGC1D - A Storybook Course Culminating Assignment  

Page: 15

Author(s): Thomas, Christina; Peers, Stephen

This assignment requires you to discuss in detail one topic from geography that we have covered this semester and develop a children’s storybook that presents the information in a fun, colourful way.

Geospatial Technology: Trails and Trials - 8 Students at Port Colborne High School get the job done!  

Page: 23

Author(s): Fletcher, Jonathan

For many of us, memories of our high school Geography classes bring back memories of Crayola pencil crayons and trying to master perfectly shaded oceans. When students enter my Geography classroom, they hear something that shocks them. They are told on the first day of class that they will not be required to have pencil crayons and that as their teacher, I will never require them to shade in a map for marks. If education is to prepare students for life outside of high school, and my subject area is to teach them Geography, then students should be doing or learning about what professional geographers do and as well, they should be using the same tools.

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think  

Page: 28

Author(s): Mansfield, Dickson

Being a retired educator, I am privileged to finally have some time available to read and enjoy, on a daily basis, Canada’s National newspaper - The Globe and Mail. Last August I read an opinion piece by Marcus Gee, a G&M staff writer. The article was titled “Even without rose-tinted glasses, life’s still a lot rosier”. Needless to say, the title peaked my interest! The article (G&M Aug. 25/18 page A8) featured a review of several books which focus on presenting the opinion that the world is indeed becoming a better place vs the steady diet of pessimism which we get on an ongoing basis in most of the media. One of the books featured is titled FACTFULNESS: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World - and Why Things Are Better Than You Think (2018). The article was so intriguing that it motivated me to seek out the book and read it. The authors are Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund. I had not come across their material before - I guess that is what happens when one is retired!!! However, I soon learned that Hans Rosling, before his recent passing, was very popular for his TED Talks and The Gapminder * Foundation, which he founded. Needless to say, I enjoyed the book and it certainly mademe reconsider my perceptions/understandings of globaldevelopment which were grounded in my formal university education in the 1960s. Having always been interested in global issues, and having taught the World Issues Geography course, I look back now and wish I had an opportunity to share the insights of this book with contemporary secondary school students. The book is divided into ten key chapters, each of which focusses on one main perception/instinct we, those of us who live in the developed or Level 4 world, often consider as a truth. The book begins by having readers test themselves by answering 13 multiple choice questions. Here is the first question: “In all low-income countries across the world today, how many girls finish primary school?” A) 20 %, B) 40%, C) 60%. The authors have presented this set of questions to audiences around the world and on average only 7% of respondents selected the correct answer, C) 60%. The authors go on to explain, using available UN statistics, the gap between our perceptions/instincts and the current global reality of the situation. As a matter of interest, summary data for selected countries’ responses to each question, are provided. Sweden had the most correct with 11%. Canada was well down the list at only 5%. The authors go on to help the reader understand WHY they might have these inaccurate impressions as well as offering concrete suggestions on how we can all become more grounded in FACTFULNESS. What immediately springs to mind is the opportunity to use these 13 multiple choice questions as an introduction or springboard for classroom discussion on global issues themes. Have students complete the test, score the tests anonymously and then share the cumulative class score. This will usually reveal a wide gap between student perceptions/instincts and the correct responses, an excellent starting point for further discussion. Without going into detail, the ten basic instincts which the Rosling’s tackle each have an intriguing title. Here they are: - The Gap Instinct - The Negativity Instinct - The Straight Line Instinct - The Fear Instinct - The Size Instinct - The Generalization Instinct - The Destiny Instinct - The Single Perspective Instinct - The Blame Instinct - The Urgency Instinct Each of these instincts is explained with lots of easily interpreted graphs, charts, maps, photos, and examples drawn from global experience. The book has extensive up-to-date supports in the Appendix (where one can see how their country does), notes, and sources. The book is available as an e-book as well, so one might be able to capture the various graphs, maps, and charts to visually incorporate into their classes. For me, it is the kind of book where I read one of the chapters and then needed to put the book down and think about it for a bit before going on to the next theme/topic/instinct. The book concludes with a chapter on “Factfulness in Practice” as well as a visually-grabbing summary entitled “Factfulness Rules of Thumb” on page 256. Inside the back cover of the book is a great set of images titled “Life on the four income levels” which presents an easily interpreted grid of indicators of what life looks like. The categories illustrated in pictures include: drinking water, transportation, cooking, eating and sleeping. Below this grid of photos is a graphic illustration of the proportion of the world’s population living in level 1 (up to $2/day), 2 (2-8$ /day), 3 (8-32 $ /day) and 4 (over $32 /day). You will be interested to see how the current world population (2017) of approximately 7 billion people is distributed over the four levels - any guesses???? The reading level of this book is what I would consider to be “invitational” to a wide audience, including secondary school students. In fact, I think it would be interesting to have Global Issues students work in groups to tackle, discuss, and present/share the ten different instincts to their peers in class. If you are teaching in a secondary school, I would heartily recommend that you encourage your school library to purchase copies of this very readable and worthwhile book, assuming they still do that! There is certainly lots of “Food for Thought” for all of us, including time well spent as PD for any Geography educator. I can guarantee this book will challenge all readers to look at the world in a new light. Please do not think for a moment that the authors are simply telling us that everything in the world is great. They certainly are not. They are quick to recognize and appreciate that there is, indeed, much which is wrong in the world today and needs improvement. However, what they are trying to do, quite convincingly in my opinion, is to help us all step back and appreciate the “big picture”. Most of us did not score very well on the quiz at the beginning of the book. As a group we perceive things to be getting worse rather than better. The reality is that, on a global basis, things are improving - as in the first question where most of us were surprised to learn that now 60% of girls in low-income countries are now completing primary school. I hope that you will find this book as interesting and challenging as I have. Hopefully, it will have some impact on how you guide students, in grades 9 12, or beyond for that matter, in how we can have better, more accurate instincts, as we explore the world of Geography in Canada and its relationship with the rest of the world. Enjoy!! Review by Dickson Mansfield, retired Geography Educator Websites for Further Information will-change-your-mind-about-the-world-1.21143 Further information on the book from the dust jacket. When asked simple questions about global trends - what percentage of the world’s population lives in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school - we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, investment bankers, and Nobel Laureates. In Factfulness, professor of international health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling - together with his two longtime collaborators, Anna and Ola - offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective - from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse). Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases. It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all of the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most. Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future. “One of the most important books I’ve ever read an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.” – Bill Gates “Hans Rosling tells the story of ‘the secret silent miracle of human progress’ as only he can. But Factfulness does much more than that. It also explains why progress is so often secret and silent and teaches readers how to see it clearly.” – Melinda Gates “Factfulness by Hans Rosling, an outstanding international public health expert, is a hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than ourinherent biases.” – Former U.S. President Barack Obama

The Red Atlas: How the Soviet Union Secretly Mapped the World  

Page: 30

Author(s): Wilkie, Randy

Davies, editor of Sheetlines, the Journal of the Charles Close Society for the Study of Ordinance Survey Maps, and Kent, president of the British Cartographic Society, have written a historical geography of the world through the eyes of Soviet strategists and spies. In a day of WikiLeaks, Russian access to information may not seem so shocking. However, the amount of detailed information the Soviets knew about Canada and other nations during the Cold War is hard to imagine. The Red Atlas tells a detailed story about Soviet mapping. Russian mapping predates Napoleon’s 1812 invasion when Tsar Alexander had the Military Topographic Depot producing detailed maps of the Empire. Following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the 1:1 000 000 scale maps were completed under a veil of continuous secrecy. By 1921, selected large (1:10 000) to small (1:500 000) scale maps were being produced to support planning strategies. Topographic detail became paramount prior to the Nazi invasion of 1941. Stalin intensified the mapping program to support military operations and to advance global communism. By 1954, the entire Soviet Union was mapped at 1:100 000 using aerial photography and ground geodetic control. By 1987, mapping the USSR at 1:25 000 scale produced 200 000 maps alone. Throughout the Cold War, 1946 - 1991, world mapping was underway. All Soviet maps used the same symbology, colours, and naming conventions. Even with remote sensing, boots on the ground in all world venues produced an unbelievable amount of data using a similar unbelievable number of spies. While many nations deliberately blocked out map data of strategic locations, Soviet maps had those details and more. Bridges, for example, indicated road widths, clearance heights, construction materials, heights above water, carrying capacities, and river speeds. Trees indicated girth, heights, spacing, and species. These were key indicators that the Soviets were collecting data while in country. The detail of these maps was remarkable given the need for accuracy and secrecy. Only a few individuals had knowledge of the extent of the mapping inside and outside the USSR. Any map information was restricted to a need to know basis. All maps had to be signed out and then signed in. Even if the map was damaged or destroyed, all remnants had to be returned. Despite efforts to control the maps, the collapse of the USSR led to certain military personnel gaining access to the maps. Maps were sold for personal gain. Collectors and libraries managed to gain access to some of these maps. Other maps fell into western hands when some Soviet map depots, in newly created republics, attempted to dump their collections. At the Latvian map depot, 6 000 tonnes of maps were ordered to be destroyed. As some Russian officers started disposing the maps as waste paper, a Latvian orienteer negotiated a purchase of 100 tonnes. Unfortunately, only two to three tonnes survived after local children set fire to his acquisition. This Latvian set up a map shop which continues to do well. Overall, the Red Atlas tells a fascinating researched tale of Soviet cartographic history. Just comparing Soviet maps to American, British, or Canadian maps was a major enterprise for the authors.