Saturday, February 1, 2014

Geography Education and The Five College Center for East Asain Studies

Geography can serve as a platform to teach other disciplines. On Saturday February 1, 2014, the Five College Center for East Asian Studies hosted a workshop for educators from all corners of New England at Smith College in Northampton, MA.  Dr. Darrin Magee of Hobart and William Smith Colleges presented an overview of China’s environmental challenges to 25 teachers. These educators teach in both public and private schools and serve the needs of students in grades K-12.

Key items discussed during the lecture included a brief introduction to the environmental challenges faced by China’s people and leaders, with a focus on water pollution, water scarcity and air pollution. Dr. Magee incorporated small group discussion time in which the participants were invited to brainstorm ideas about bringing China environmental issues into the primary and secondary school classroom through curriculum modules and class projects.

With a central focus on water resources, participants were able to examine more deeply issues connected to water resources in China including scarcity, quality, and connections to food and energy security.

As a first year teacher, I seek out opportunities to deepen my understanding of pedagogy and curriculum development.  Events like this workshop and the networking possibilities that stem from it allow for the collaborative opportunities from which many educators benefit.   Listening to others share their ideas about the Six Essential Elements of Geography as they relate to  environmental education, political systems, anthropology, and chemistry helped me to see other ways of teaching China that could spiral into other disciplines, thus allowing for more collaborative efforts at my school.

The Five Colleges for East Asian Studies offers many opportunities to educators throughout the year. Aside from gleaning information from a lecturer attendees also received handouts, resource lists, and a SPICE curriculum unit. If you would like to know more about this workshop, or other resources, contact the Five College Center for East Asian Studies at or 413-585-3751.

Resource page, click here