Worldview–An Investigation of Japanese and Irish Children’s Geographical Knowledge and Understanding


  • Shelagh WADDINGTON Maynooth University, Maynooth, IRELAND
  • Takashi SHIMURA Joetsu University of Education, Niiagata, JAPAN


Geography, Social Studies, World Understanding, Misconceptions, Ireland And Japan


Understanding of other cultures and countries is widely regarded as an important aspect of world citizenship and geography is argued to make a valid contribution to the development of this. The aim of this study is to explore the understandings of Japanese and Irish students of other areas of the world, both nearby and more distant. Students at the end of junior secondary school and in their final year in school were asked to locate countries, and to record knowledge of them. They were also asked to identify the country (apart from their own) in which they would most like and least like to live. As there is currently much focus on the impact of media on understanding, they were also asked to identify the main source of their knowledge. Analysis of the data revealed common understandings, misconceptions and stereotypes, but also significant differences between the various groups. Evidence was found that study of geography to a higher level did appear to affect the depth of understanding. While this study focused on only two very different nations, the commonality of perceptions suggests that these are likely to be widespread and, therefore, of relevance to all of those concerned with global citizenship.