The Controversy Behind Continent's

Programs for this blog post

Teach In Spain Program

Authored By:

Diamond W.

The Shock

       One day I was assisting in teaching a geography class. This was a personal challenge in general because geography is my Achilles heel. Nonetheless, the teacher was in the classroom with me if I needed help. I began the class by explaining the definition of "continental current" to my class of eleven year olds. When teaching new words, I try to break the word down to help the kids come to the conclusion of the definition. So I ask the kids how many continents they thought there were. One kid says six, I scoff in surprise. Clearly thinking that this was one kid’s error, I ask another student for their answer. They also say six. After the second kid says six, I look to the teacher and she confirms that yes, there are six continents. At this point, I’m expecting a man to jump out from behind the door and say "gotcha!" but no, instead I have thirty pairs of innocent, beady eyes staring at me while I go mute. I ask the teacher to name all six continents. She says that the continents are Europe, Asia, The Americas, Antarctica, Oceania, and Africa. In disbelief, I tell her and the class that I was raised to believe that there are seven continents and that we do not combine North and South America. Nevertheless, I continue on with the definition of "continental current".

The Discovery

    After school that day, I researched more into why there wasn’t a unanimous opinion on how many continents there are. To my surprise, I discovered that different countries teach to count the continents differently. Some countries even say that there are only five continents. A comedic difference in opinion over something that I would think all humans agreed on instead revealed a basic truth: we are not all taught the same. A simple truth. But the majority of us subconsciously assume that we all have the same foundation of education. In reality, that is not true. Funnily, to my class I may have appeared slightly stupid for not knowing how many continents there are. After all, it was thirty-one against one. Fortunately, I was not made to felt stupid or unintelligent for having a different answer. Instead, someone took the time to politely educate me.

The Takeaway

Moral of this slightly comical and surprising revelation, never assume that anyone has the same education as you, and that if they do not, do not assume that that person must not be as smart as you. Sometimes, it may just be a simple difference of where and how someone grew up. 

Check out this link to learn a little bit more about the controversy behind what is considered a continent.