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Climate Change Education and Civic Outcomes.
An Inquiry into Possibilities Considering Educator Expressions of Purposes and Practices in Teaching.
Ann Arbour
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Curriculum and Instruction) at the University of Wisconsin- Madison
In this multiple case study, I asked ten practicing secondary educators in the Midwest to express the purposes and practices that drive their teaching regarding climate change education. The theoretical framework grounding this qualitative study is that of critical theory, in which one leverages critique to bring about social change. I analyzed the teacher statements, coded the data, identified themes, and created categories representing dominant teaching patterns concerning two purposes. Findings indicate two categories exist for teachers′ goals in climate change education; first, to give disciplinary scientific knowledge and second; to teach climate change for civic ends. I identified three practices, mixed practices that blended a number of teaching methods, transmission teaching practices, and integrated teaching practices. Combining purposes and practices, I created three dominant stances: the unconsidered ends/mixed practices stance, the transmission stance, and the integrated civics stance. In considering the purpose of climate change to be the creation of climate literate students, I interrogated the possibilities and obstacles of such an endeavor regarding the use of each teaching stance. I conclude that the integrated civics stance is the teaching approach best suited to create opportunities for development of scientific understandings related to climate change, as well as providing for the possibility that students will acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to allow for effective civic action related to the numerous policy problems that are necessary to consider to blunt the effects of climate change. Moreover, it increases the possibility for students to acquire the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to allow for effective civic action related to numerous policy problems that must be considered to diminish the effects of climate change. The other two stances do not sufficiently address teaching for civic ends to allow students the learning opportunities required to understand and effectively address social, economic and justice related concerns associated with the socio-scientific problem of climate change. Finally, I present the implications of the different teaching patterns for practicing teachers and for those in the academy.
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