Need of Separate Room
It is said that Geography is the bridge between the humanities and varied as those required by the scientists. Therefore a special room or laboratory is as necessary for the geographer as for the scientist. The geography teacher will need to use wall-maps, globes, epidiascopes and other teaching materials and it is not that easy to carry them from one class room to another.
Moreover, the pupils in a geography lesson should not be passive-hearers sitting at a desk with adequate size to take variety of books and atlases required. Provisions should be made for drawing and construction of maps, plans and diagrams for model making and for observation of the heavenly bodies. So is the need for a separate Geography Room.
Because of financial difficulties it generally is not possible for every school in the country in our State to have a separate room. But it is desirable to have it and to equip it with suitable geographical materials like maps, models and instruments.
Equipment of the Room
(1) Position and Size:
Minimum dimension of the geography room is to be 40’X 30’X18′ for a class size of 40 pupils. The room should have windows and doors on the South side. This condition is a necessity and the room should be open to the School field or playground to enable students to observe the natural phenomena like the sun and weather changes direct from the room. The room should be large enough to enable students to make easy movement in the class other than the seated space. The north, south and west sides of the room should have no attached rooms.
(2) Lighting Arrangements:
Care should be taken with regard to lighting arrangements in the Geography Room. The electric switch board should be so fixed as to enable the teacher to light the whole or part of the room or to make the room dark as required without unnecessary movements.
Provision should be made to lighten the blackboard, when the entire room has to be darkened for showing, some slides etc. In order to darken the room at ease, the doors, windows and ventilators should be fitted with blinds, colored blue or black. Thus by pulling down the blinds the teacher can darken the room for projection purposes. Wall blackboard should be on the east. Both south and north sides of the room should have two doors and one window each to enable sufficient light to come in.
On the eastern wall where there is a blackboard, let there be a low cup-board (3’6″X3’X2′) below the black board fixed in the wall where apparatus for projecting pictures and slides may be kept. An epidiascope or a magic- lantern, preferably the former is used for reproducing illustration from pictures, books, maps for some particular points of the lesson. A screen may be formed by distempering a part of the eastern wall white, where the pupils face. Another kind of screen is a light wood plank colored white and hung from the ceiling by means of a string to be pulled up when not in use.
(4) Map cup-boards:
These are placed on the north side of the room. The most common type is an admiral having single shelf with big round holes grooved in it. In these holes rolled maps are to be placed vertically. Sometimes in another type of map cup-board hooks are screwed at the top of the cup-board and maps are then vertically hung by means of rings fixed into the ends of the rolled maps. Such cup-boards occupy very little space and maps are kept quite clean and are easily traceable. Another form of a map-stand in common use in school is the one fitted with brackets for the rolled maps to stand on. On the top of these cup-boards are placed globes. These cup-boards should be provided with shelves and drawers. These shelves will contain pictures, slides and other apparatus arranged in a systematic manner.
(5) Teacher’s Table:
In front of the black-board should stand the teacher’s table which should, be sufficiently strong and durable and large enough for the display of illustrative materials of a geography lesson. If possible, one end of the table may have a sink. It also should be fitted with drawers and storage space. The epidiascope should display on the teacher’s table.
Pupils’ desks should be placed opposite to the teacher’s table. There must be sufficient space left in between the teacher’s table and student’s seating place. The desks should be strong-built, flat-topped having drawers. Stools or chairs may be placed for the students to sit on. At the corner of the room let there be a tracing table fitted with electric bulbs. Along the side of blackboard in a corner, there may be placed vertical map stand to display wall maps.
Between the two doors on the south wall there should be placed two big admirals for geography books. This will serve the purpose of geographical library. These admirals should not merely be packed with text books on geography, but should include books on travel and other illustrated and descriptive books. Picture books are a necessary addition on account of their great appeal to young pupils. The Statesman Year Book and Whitaker’s Almanac are useful additions to any library. It also may contain readers, geographical journals, magazines, reference books etc.
(7) Meteorological Instruments:
To each lesson on atmosphere the following instruments may be kept in a special cup-board:
- Fahrenheit Thermometer
- Centigrade Thermometer
- Maximum and Minimum Thermometer
- Dry and Wet Bulb Thermometer
- Wind Vane and so on.
Geographical models will enhance the importance and value of the geography room. Models showing the relief features of the village, district, province or the country; different kinds of crops, animals, means of transport and communications, dress of people and their occupations may be kept in this laboratory for Geography teaching. Only the presence and looking around the geography room will help educating the pupils. Astronomical models give relative idea of the sizes of the sun (a star), earth (a planet), and moon (a satellite). Models of these heavenly bodies may be prepared and kept in the geography room. These models will also be useful in explaining the motions of the earth.
Advantages of Separate or Special Geography Room
It is a considered opinion of the educationists that a separate and specially equipped room is as much a necessity in a school as a laboratory or handicraft room. None can deny that geography can be taught in an ordinary room. Rather it is now being done in most of the Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools in India. But its absence in a school means much wastage of time of the class and of the teacher. Imagine a teacher carrying outlines, maps and globe from room to room, how awkward and disturbed he feels. Or imagine his losing of patience, when he cannot preserve black board maps which he has drawn with pains and care and which are needed preservation for a series of lessons in geography.
Special room for geography will have the following advantages:
(i) Much time and energy are wasted when maps and ‘ globes have to be carried by the teacher from room to room from a storage space. Separate geography room will save the teacher of these troubles and save much time for a better lesson.
(ii) In the process as mentioned above, the whole material is liable to be damaged and that will also involved unnecessary expenditure to the school administration.
(iii) Without a special room with wall blackboard, slide and stand black board, the blackboard, diagrams which accompany geographical lesson cannot be preserved, for a new lesson has to be given in the same class in the next period.
Geography is a science subject. This requires a geography laboratory of its own to create a congenial atmosphere for the subject.