Geography in American education has
benefited from over thirty years of reform efforts,
from The Guidelines for Geographic Education (Five Themes)
and Geography for Life: National Geography Standards to a state-based
network of Geographic Alliances and an Advanced Placement Human Geography
course. This foundation of prior work provides an excellent infrastructure for developing innovative solutions to the many challenges the nation’s schools presently face in providing K-12 geography instruction: a pronounced shortage of teachers with geography backgrounds, poor public perceptions of geography, uneven access to geographic technologies and quality educational materials, and limited support from the federal government and private sector stakeholders.
Inspired by recent work on GeoCapabilities, Powerful Geography emphasizes the role of teachers as curriculum leaders who help young people develop greater potential to lead a life informed by geography’s powerful knowledge.
The Powerful Geography process is intended to build teacher leadership and capacity to use data as a guide to providing students with a clearer understanding of the relevance of school geography. By relating geography to students’ aspirations, beliefs, and life goals, teachers can help students become more engaged in their learning experiences.