Education: Quick! Name Togo's Capital

An inventive teacher battles against geographic illiteracy

If you're in Senegal and want to get to Chad, which countries would you cross to get there?

Mmmm. Let me get back to you on that.

No such luck if you are one of the 23 seventh-grade students in David Smith's geography class at the Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Mass. That question is typical of the brainteasers he tosses out to his tribe throughout the school year in an effort to teach them what the world looks like. By June, the answer is as obvious as, say, the capital of Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou).

On the opening day of school...

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