Friday, February 19, 2016

Too many teachers are getting climate science wrong

There is consensus among climate scientists:
"They've all said: [climate change is] happening, and it's being caused by human activity. Add to that the fact that most of the published literature that you see in the big journals, like Science and Nature and Geophysical Research Letters, is all showing a consensus. It's overwhelming."
But many classroom science teacher are getting climate science wrong. How so?
Well, roughly 30 percent tell students that humans are only partly to blame for climate change, along with natural causes. The problem with that, Plutzer says, is that it sends mixed messages, suggesting that the causes of climate change are still up for debate — when there is no debate among the vast majority of climate scientists. As for the rest ...

"About one in 10 [teachers] seem to be denying a human role altogether," while the remaining 5 percent don't talk about causes at all.
It's likely we came up in a time when the debate over global warming was robust, and consensus did not yet exist. And we may be accustomed to basic tenets of science not evolving so quickly. So we're comfortable teaching climate science as we learned it 20 years ago or so.

But the needle has moved on this one. Fairly dramatically. If we hope to convey contemporary reality to contemporary students, we need to move out narrative accordingly.

NCSE: Climate Confusion Among US Educators

NPR: Why Science Teachers Are Struggling With Climate Change

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