A Qualitative Study of the Interdisciplinary Significance of Geography Education in the United States
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This paper analyzes the lack of emphasis of the discipline of geography in K-12 education in the United States. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, geographic knowledge is necessary to solve pressing global issues. Utilizing the methodology of qualitative research, data for this study was collected through interviews, site visits, a literature review, and brief personal narrative. An interdisciplinary approach was considered when recruiting interview subjects. The interviewees discussed the importance of utilizing geographic knowledge in their fields, which included marketing, journalism and mass communication, and political science. These participants arrived at a consensus, and showed appreciation for the need of understanding geography in a globalized world. However, in my research I discovered that geography is met with an overwhelming sense of apathy in K-12 education, as well as in our everyday lives. Stemming from American jingoistic culture and issues ingrained within the discipline itself, the apathetic application of geography has led to its marginalization within the breadth of American education. Although existing literature has explored the connections between public opinion and the discipline of geography, an analysis of the reasons for public dissonance has not been conducted. The results of this study call for an awareness of the collective apathy towards the discipline, and suggest utilizing edutainment as a non-traditional, alternative form of teaching geography if it cannot be found in the classroom.