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Columbus Day was declared a federal holiday in the United States in 1934 by President Roosevelt after lobbying from a Catholic fraternal association called Knights of Columbus. Since then, many have questioned the appropriateness of celebrating Columbus by bringing some of his lesser-known actions to light. Let’s lay it out and look at the myths and truths surrounding Christopher Columbus and his legacy:
American schools are notorious for not educating students properly on geography. Some seem to think this is because of ethnocentric tendencies that come from being a world power. Below are some interesting ideas for why geography is so important, and how teachers can help educate their students on the world:
Increasing Worldviews: This is what opens doors for students to realize that there are unlimited options for the “right” ways to live your life. Learning about other cultures (and where they’re located) is a huge step in increasing tolerance of all different lifestyles. It shows the differences, which we all expect to see, but can also shed light on unchanging factions of human nature that we all share.
Creating Contributing Citizens: Knowing about geography, the resources located in each country, and the effect those have on the economy can educate students on the reasons for certain current events. Learning about the governments in each country can also contribute to growth in other areas involving world events.
It’s Impressive: Not that we should learn solely to impress others, but there is something to be said for a person who can talk about Azerbaijan and Andorra. Plus, if you ever want to work for the CIA or be the next Lara Croft or James Bond, knowing your geography is a must! Haven’t you ever noticed how all the really awesome adventure stars in movies randomly know all sorts of things about the most random places? Geography.
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