The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) along with Penn State University carried the first nationwide survey on over 1,500 high school teachers about climate change. Results suggested that teachers are often confused about the topic and only spend one or two hours per year on it.
The survey was published in an article in the February 12, 2016, issue of the journal Science.
The teachers were asked about their opinions and knowledge about climate change and how they addressed this information to their students. According to the NCSE, there were good news and bad news:
“Whereas most U.S. science teachers include climate science in their courses, their insufficient grasp of the science may hinder effective teaching.”
The good news
Good news are that the survey showed that most teachers do address climate change, even if their state standards don’t require it. And also, less than 5 percent of teachers surveyed said they felt direct pressure to avoid teaching climate change to their students.
NCSE’s spokeswoman Minda Berbecco said in a statement that it is encouraging that teachers are not experiencing any kind of pressure, but it does not mean that this pressure does not exist in the community. Climate change is a politically controversial topic. She believes that the results of the survey showed that teachers need more tools and training to improve their knowledge of and ability to teach about climate change.
Berbecco believes that the results of the survey showed that teachers need more tools and training to improve their knowledge about climate change and the ability to teach about it.
But here comes the bad news.
The bad news
The answers provided revealed that teachers spend an average of just one to two hours per year discussing climate change, which is quite a short period for a single year.
They also revealed that at least one-third of the teachers said that global warming is not caused by humans, which opposes to what the 95 percent of climate scientists believe.
Josh Rosenau from the NCSE said in a press release that at least one in three teachers are claiming that many scientists believe climate change is not caused by humans. This problem is leading to misinformation in the classroom.
The article concluded by saying that teachers do not need more traditional science education since it would not lead to better classroom practice. Promoting the understanding of the science of climate change and learning its methods of teaching would be a better solution.