Teaching Climate Change
Climate Change is an existential threat to life on Earth. The responsibility for creating atmospheric CO2 is not shared across the world’s populations or successive generations and yet it has wrought environmental injustice impacting the most vulnerable populations and has created intractable challenges for young people and future generations. How we teach about climate change is critical to our response as a global population. Educators adopt a longitudinal view on the outcomes of their daily efforts—guiding each generation with hope and possibility.
How do we communicate with urgency despite the uncertainties in the exact outcomes even while we are certain that climate change is real and is happening around us? How do we communicate the loss of what might be called a pact between the generations to the next generation?
This course offers an intensive opportunity to explore issues related to teaching climate change in K-12. It invites a series of conversations about the following topics: 1) How do scientists explain the dynamics of climate change and what are some of the challenges in learning the science concepts?; 2) How does attending to climate change fit with what is known about the cognitive and emotional architecture of human minds and what are the implications for instruction?; 3) What are ways of knowing and being in relation with Earth and nature that respect the connectedness, dynamics, and language of nature. How can we learn from and bring pluralistic and diverse epistemologies to our teaching?; 4) How can we support young people in navigating between anxiety/despair and hope/action?; 5) How do the politics of climate change interact with our teaching? The course meets for all day for two weeks with a structured three-hour morning session (includes mini-lecture, activities, active processing, simulation games) and brainstorming/workshopping afternoon session to support students in developing a project to build and reveal their understanding of course concepts. This is followed by events including films, guest lectures, and discussions.