Dude, Where’s My Countries?
At first I thought this was another ‘Look how dumb students are’ article – US teachers gave blank maps to a class and asked them to fill in the countries – but what surprised me in some cases was just how well these kids did do. They got the big countries right, and it was in the sorting order of the smaller European countries that they got tangled – as well all have done. When I came back from Latvia it was amazing how many adults asked me what Eastern Europe was like, and I had to explain that I’d been in the Baltic.
I also wonder, if they conducted the same exercise here in the UK, just how badly our own pupils (or their parents) would embarrass themselves. In the polynational US, where it is a matter of pride to identify your origins, students are able to pinpoint the countries of their ancestors. And I do think it’s hard to understand the relationships of the principalities, states and nations of Europe. What was interesting was just how many kids left Germany entirely off the map. For the rest of the results, see the full piece here.