Sunday, February 25, 2024

How to teach climate change in classrooms?

After the close of 2023 as a record year in all the important indicators to see the progress of climate change, it is even more apparent that we are no longer talking about a possible future, but you can see that now. Considering that the climate crisis is a reality, how does this translate into the education of children and young people? The causes and effects of climate change must be addressed in the learning process. However, at first glance, it is difficult to understand complex aspects such as, for example, greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on global warming. Within the framework of World Environmental Education Day, its importance to train the whole society in this aspect and, in particular, in the world of education is put on the table. What does it weigh? How should it be taught? Need a specific topic?

There are several theoretical approaches to what nature education itself is. The Department of Medi Ambient includes the following as the most extensive definition: “Environmental education is a permanent process in which individuals and communities become aware of their environment and learn knowledge, values, skills, experiences, and, also, the determination that enables them. to act, individually and collectively, to solve environmental problems.” In other words, it is possible to concentrate on just one subject in the curriculum. The essence of environmental education is against this approach, as pointed out by John Gameropedagogue, a member of the Pedagogy and School Commission of the Colegio Oficial de Pedagogia de Catalunya: “You are not educated in a parcel way, but globally. Education is from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep.”

In the same way that the complexity of the climate crisis does not affect only one aspect of society or how knowledge about it is given, Gamero gives several examples: “By doing mathematics, you can do environmental education that talks about the forest, for example. It is transversal, and the project of each center comes here.” The pedagogue observes that those who receive traditional education may have difficulty with the concept of working on environmental education through projects that exceed many subjects. “We don’t have to think in content mode; we have to think in behavior and process mode. It is not about integrating or not in a subject, but environmental education is everywhere. This is the way it works,” he said.

The role of the family in environmental education

The involvement of parents in the education of their sons and daughters is important, and this case is no exception. Gamero points to the fundamental role of the family: “There is a problem that is taught in families and taught in schools; I think we all do everything.” Along these lines, the pedagogue points out that it is essential that the educational center and the family are on the same page. We must not forget that children learn by imitation. Adults are mirrors. When I say mature, I mean family and school. It should be clear that, as much as possible, we should not send contradictory messages. If I recycle at school and I don’t recycle, things will not go well because the children will learn in the long run,” he explained as an example.

Gamero also points out that children can influence parents: “Many times families act when children act. Another example is that in green schools and sustainable schools, students do not come with silver paper; they come with a lunch box. The child says, “He is already in charge of asking his family.” To make the collaboration between family and school in environmental education successful, the pedagogue points to a cornerstone: fluid communication.

How to tackle the toughest subjects

There are aspects of the climate crisis that can be difficult to explain, not because of their complexity but because of the human impact they imply. For example, the gradual increase in temperature, the extinction of animal species, or the spread of diseases due to climate change. In an interview with ElNacional. the psychologist expert in meter sensitivity and vice president of the Social Intervention Board of the Official College of Psychology of Catalonia, Núria Casanova, points out that climate anxiety mainly affects children and young people.

Remembering that it is a possibility that children suffer from anxiety, Gamero recommends not to hide anything but to adapt it to the age of each child. “If they are in the baby cycle or early primary cycle, you don’t focus on the discourse of disaster, but you have to enter positively, starting with the game,” he describes, adding: “As they get older, you can interact more with a critical sense and a sense of responsibility, and they can give opinions and give alternatives,” Gamero admits that you can talk about everything with students; in fact, it should be done no matter how difficult it is for adults.

The importance of environmental education

The Catalan school has integrated environmental education for years, and to some extent, the effects of this integration can be normalized. However, this is not the case in other countries. The United Kingdom is an example. A report prepared by academics from King’s College London, Melissa Glackin, Heather King, Rachel Cook, and Kate Greer, analyzes how recent years of conservative policies have cornered environmental education. in secondary school from the educational curriculum and how it harms the students. and their knowledge and relationship with the environment and climate change. “Environmental content is linked to how the Ofsted agenda (government regulation) limits the action of schools,” they said and called for a plan to introduce transversal environmental education in British schools. However, this is an example of how this type of education is abandoned in the face of a denialist government or one that does not give importance to the climate crisis. Along these lines, Gamero emphasizes the importance of environmental education: “Sometimes this issue conflicts with the ideas of one part of society, but we must seek the common good. and the common good is the pursuit of continuity, and we must take sides.

World Nation News Desk
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