A knowledge of geography is helpful in many fields of endeavor. In addition, such knowledge will assist an individual to comprehend world events. Whether taking a required class or as an avocation, a student in geography class can have a positive experience. What are some practical ways for a student to succeed when taking a geography class?
Geography is a scientific pursuit that is involved with the physical properties of the Earth, its biological diversity, and its cultures. While there are individual areas of study for each of these, geography takes a more holistic approach in looking at them all from an overview perspective. The study of geography opens the student to a wide variety of people, places, and things. A student who is willing to have his or her horizons broadened will find much to enjoy about the study of geography.
The successful student will take his or her own experiences and seek to understand how they compare and contrast with those in other parts of the world. The student who has a keen eye for the rich detail where he or she lives will be able to carry that over into the study of other places around the world.
While in the past a large, plastic globe was the tool of the geography student, today’s electronic world has opened up the vast riches of detail at the click of a few keystrokes. The importance of the globe for the geography student was having before him or her a complete overview of the structure of the planet. This is still an essential for putting the details of geography into their proper perspective, but many more tools are available to achieve the same end. The successful student will become familiar with the various web sites and software that are available to create a rich experience in studying the extensive geographical details of the world.
Like any science, geography has specific terms with specific meanings that must be understood in order to understand the details of the world. A geography dictionary and glossary is a must if the student is to grasp the specifics of what is being taught. A good practice is to spend a short, consistent time before going to sleep every night going over a list of geographic terms and their meanings. By doing so, the student will over time work this knowledge into long-term memory where it can be resourced during the learning process. As with learning a foreign language, the more that the student can receive the material without having to constantly struggle with unfamiliar terms, the more the student will take in and be able to comprehend fully.
Maps are a staple of geography and a must for the geography student to master. Whether on-line or on paper, maps have specific keys and ways of presenting information. These short-hand keys have been developed in order to limit the amount of information that must be displayed or written and understanding this form of communication is essential if the student is to glean all that a map has to offer. Such rich details as elevation changes, types of environment, climatic consideration, and much more are available to a student with a good understanding of how maps present information and a keen eye for detail. As the student masters the art of map creation, he or she will uncover a world within the world that exists all over.
While on-line and in-class study can be rich, geography must also be experienced in the real world. A great start is to study the geography of the places where a student lives and travels. Short trips can uncover geographical wonders that a student never knew existed. Parks, beaches, deserts, and mountains are just a few of the geographically rich areas that are most likely within reach of many students. Taking the time to stop and study the ground under the student’s feet can expose details never before imagined. No student is a successful one unless he or she can take the area of study and connect it with real-life experiences. While some areas of study are harder than others, geography is everywhere that a student goes. Whatever country a student lives in, there are geographic landmarks that have stood the test of time and have much to communicate to a student who is open to receive and learn.
While geography is primarily focused on physical forms, it also includes the biological and human cultures that exist in these places. A successful student will grasp how specific geographical conditions produce the biological species that exist in a particular region. In addition, the way in which human cultures develop is very closely connected with the geographic resources available in a particular place. As this connection is developed, the geography student’s eyes will be opened to how the plants, animals, and human constructions all around him or her came into being and are sustained based on the specific geography that he or she witnesses every day. Geography will come to life when its impact on an individual’s everyday life is understand and appreciated.
Success in any class of study requires hard work and desire to achieve. Like any course of study, geography involves some fundamental basic truths so that the information presented can be understood in its appropriate context. Yet, unlike some other intellectual pursuits, geography is available every place that a student goes. Success in geography class goes beyond classroom study to investigation of the places, animals, plants, flowers, and people that a student encounters every day. It can also involve traveling to other places either physically or through electronic mediums to encounter other geographically unique areas around the world.
Beginning with the big view of the entire world, the successful geography student will drill down into the rich detail that is the world of geography. Geographical forms are distinct and have affected every area of the globe. The more this impact is understood and appreciated, the greater success the student will have in geography class.