Are educators doing enough when it comes to climate change?
Purdue University Professors Dr. Daniel Shepardson and Andrew Hirsch believe that right now, climate change is the one topic that isn’t adequately covered in classrooms across America – even though this is one of our most pressing environmental issues today.
“It tends to be addressed in a piecemeal fashion,” Shepardson says students may touch on it a bit in earth science or biology class, but that’s not enough. “There’s not really a clearly defined conceptual framework to help teachers to teach about climate change.”
That’s why Shepardson and his colleague, Hirsch recently co-authored “Teaching Climate Change – What educators should know and can do“ in American Educator.
They argue that climate change is the #1 environmental issue. “If we don’t address a warming climate, then we are going to find ourselves having to deal with extreme heat, extreme storm events, and food security may become a problem,” says Hirsch.
Navigating the political storm.
There’s a fine line between educating students about climate change and making it an opportunity for debate.
A lot of teachers will present both sides. Still, the pair say that allowing this kind of discussion in your classroom could backfire if you’re not careful to avoid any heated exchanges among classmates who may be on opposite ends with their beliefs about global warming or how humans contribute to its occurrence.
Hirsch says the debate should be about how we deal with the issue. “That’s where teachers can engage students in debating the ways we mitigate and adapt to our changing climate.
To get tips on how to teach about climate change and hear our full interview with Hirsch and Shepardson, listen to Episode 207 of the Class Dismissed Podcast. You can listen to the latest episode of Class Dismissed on iTunes here.