Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Everyday Geography
Originator Mark Banks
Department Department of Geography, Lancaster University, LA1 4YB
Tel. +44 (0)1524 594828
Fax. +44 (0)1524 847099

Getting a tutorial programme started for a group of new first-year students can be difficult. The tutorial which follows provides an interesting and participative method which can get students to question their view of what geography is, can set the scene for the geography which follows in the other tutorials and/or the lectures, and also sets the tutorial programme off in an open, free-flowing style.

The students are asked to cut out all the items in a newspaper which they think are in some way 'geographical'. It is up to the students to consider the criteria by which they judge something to be geographical. The exercise could involve reviews of the same newspaper by all the students or it could have another dimension by spreading the students across various international (if available), national and regional quality and tabloid titles. Titles could be accessed from a daily paper copy bought locally or from the Internet. The students should be told to work independently at this stage.

During the tutorial the first task is to review the range of material that the students have selected as 'geographical'. Some items will be obvious choices; others will be less obvious and one should focus on these and get the students to explain what they thought was geographical in the item. The discussion can then move on to clarifying in more general terms the range of criteria the students have used to define what is geographical. Finally the discussion can arrive at the question of whether it is possible or even desirable to define broadly or precisely the field of geography.

There can also be discussion of the extent to which newspapers in general or certain types of them are good sources of geographical material and how they compare with other sources. Your university library's holdings of newspapers and the titles available on the Internet could be pointed out as possible sources of material for essays or dissertations.

The tutorial has proved to be successful in raising students' awareness of the huge scope of geography as a subject and for getting them to shake off school notions as to the subject's boundaries.


Definition of geography

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Page created 7 April 1997
Database pages maintained by Phil Gravestock