Advancing a Framework for Climate Change Education in Singapore Through Teacher Professional Development, pp. 5 of 8

To get a good consolidation of ideas, teachers were asked to get into groups of four. Individually, they were tasked to think of 20 words about climate change. Next, they distilled their 20 words down to 15 words with a partner, then come together as a group of four and distill the 15 words down to 10 best words that were related to climate change. This distillation process gave the teachers an opportunity to identify the key concepts that helped define climate change.

Based on this exercise, the teachers came to a conclusion that climate is a long-term average state of atmosphere where change in average values may not reflect all changes in frequency, duration and intensity of events.  In addition, climate change education involves causes, impacts/consequences and management. The teachers also noted that climate change education involves developing knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

In addition to having a macro-framework to organize the participants’ subject-matter knowledge, the workshop was designed to engage teachers in mapping the relevant topics from syllabus documents across subjects and levels. Examples from across the curricula were provided as a start of this process. Teachers from the workshop then provided some comments and responses as part of their reflection on what to teach.

For instance, both the primary 3 and primary 6 social studies curricula included the topic “How people adapt to and change their environment.” Several teachers felt that this topic did not focus on environmental management but focused primarily on land-use. However, the big ideas of human environment interaction and stewardship are clearly included in the curriculum. Other examples include Civics and Moral Education (upper primary). This subject addresses the issue of protecting the environment. Students learn about the irreversible damage to the environment if they do not protect it and learn that protecting the environment will allow them to continue living in a healthy environment (Goh, Tan, Chang, & Ooi, 2009).

At the secondary school levels, CCE is addressed at all levels. For example, in Secondary 2 Geography, the topic “Managing the changing environment” focuses on the “impact of human activities on the environment at local, regional and global scales, justifying the need for protection and conservation of the environment at different levels [CPDD (Curriculum Planning and Development Division), 2005].

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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