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General Science and Teaching

New Teacher: Politics and Climate Change

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Zoe Ziegler Zoe Ziegler 10 Points

The political climate in America and the earth's climate both seem to be struggling, with no real end in sight. And while the clash between politics and environmental science is not a new issue, I think recent events have made the two topics into exceptionally unfriendly neighbors when discussed together. So, as a student looking to become a science teacher, I am curious about how you all address this issue in your classrooms.  I think first and foremost I consider myself an environmentalist. But I also am very interested in providing a no-judgement space where students of all political views can learn and collaborate with their peers. So I ask: do you stay out of politics altogether, or are you able to incorporate current political events into the classroom and maintain a healthy dialogue between students? How do you facilitate respectful discourse when you have classroom represented by multiple backgrounds and ideas? Thank you!

Kimiko Torres Kimiko Torres 565 Points

Hi Zoe, 

I really liked your question because of how it highlights the dilemma new teachers today face, myself included.  I remember learning about climate change when I was in elementary school and how we as humans should reduce, reuse, and recycle, but it seemed like such a faraway concern. Nowadays, it is a hot topic for many radio shows, tv shows, movies, and books, and students read about it on social media constantly. In my opinion, I think it's important for students to learn about the scientific facts present and explore the data gathered in order to form their own conclusions about climate change. It can be scary, but when adults warn children about certain things, children sometimes do not like to listen until much later. I think the concept of respectful discussions should be talked about early in the year and even letting the children come up with discussion dos and don'ts would be a great way to get them engaged. I think when students know they're in a safe place to air out their feelings or concerns, facilitating respectful discourse will come easier. 

Lola Rubio Alberca Lola Rubio Alberca 475 Points

I believe it is important to bring real facts about climate change to the classroom so that students realize that it is something real, important and relevant to all of them. All of us, including children, have to take action regarding this subject matter and only making children aware of the consequences of climate change we can impact and change the path of the future global leaders. Educators cannot show skepticism in their environmental teachers, we must support the facts as Arlene said and change children's behaviors by making them participants of the climate change fight.

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