An Analysis of Attitudes and Achievements in Geography in Secondary Schools in Japan and New Zealand

Yoshihiro Hirata
Hokkai-Gakuen University

Ken Hirata
Hokurei Secondary School
Sapporo, Japan

Geography is a subject that secondary school students study in both Japan and New Zealand, but their teaching methods and achievement goals are different. Geography education in Japan focuses mainly on memorization of the world’s topographical, economic and political facts and data, while in New Zealand it is centred on sustainability education and the acquisition of key geographical concepts/skills. The purpose of this study is to investigate the differences and similarities in students’ attitudes and achievements, by conducting a survey of their understanding and feedback based on their self-evaluation. The results indicate that students’ evaluation of their own comprehension of the subject is lower in Japan compared to New Zealand, but its usefulness for their future is evaluated more highly in Japan than New Zealand. Moreover, the advantages of ICT in geography learning are recognized equally by students in both countries, but the attitudes towardits its use in geography learning are more positive in New Zealand. It is not possible to conclude that geography education is better in either country, but in both cases it can still be improved for better quality and achievement.