Almost all teachers in England believe that an “action-focused climate change curriculum” should be incorporated across subjects, with more than half saying that secondary school pupils should be taught to protest global warming.
The University of Bristol led the largest survey of its kind by asking primary (four to 11 years old) and secondary (11 to 18 years old) school teachers in England their views on climate change education, which is currently limited to science and geography lessons.
The findings, in the report “The views of teachers in England on an action-oriented climate change curriculum” published in Environmental Education Research, revealed that teachers “almost unanimously” believed that “action-focused” lessons should be incorporated across the whole curriculum, according to a University of Bristol press release published on Wednesday.
A majority (54 per cent) also believe the curriculum should extend to “participation in civil disobedience” at secondary school.
Three-quarters (72 per cent) of teachers are already talking about global warning with pupils, with almost all (97 per cent) of teachers in the country believing that climate change is manmade.
Almost one in five (19 per cent) thought that climate change was more important than funding STEM (science, technology, engineering, medicine) subjects.
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The report’s lead author, Professor of Neuroscience and Education Paul Howard-Jones, said that the findings show teachers want their pupils to be informed about the so-called “climate emergency”, and that they are “ready and willing to move forward with radical, action-oriented programmes of education that can help students drive our response to climate change”.
Another of the paper’s authors also pinpointed the influence of the young climate change saint, Greta Thunberg — who was recently immortalised in bronze at the English University of Winchester — on children, with Professor Howard-Jones also implying young people were taking cues from Extinction Rebellion vandals, who have been branded “criminals” by the home secretary.
Children’s ‘passion’ for climate change has resulted in a rise of what the American Psychological Association described in 2019 as “eco-anxiety”. Similarly, psychologists in the UK found that young children were feeling anxiety and even grief in relation to alleged anthropogenic climate change.
In 2020, the BBC’s Newsround revealed that one in five youngsters between eight and 16 were having nightmares about climate change.
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