Advancing a Framework for Climate Change Education in Singapore Through Teacher Professional Development, pp. 6 of 8

Similar topics can be found in other subjects such as science. Focusing on the topic of energy, students are made aware of how they can help to save electricity at home and in school by switching off lights and electrical appliances when not in used (CPDD, 2007). They are also taught to use more energy-efficient appliances, for instance, to set their thermostats in air conditioners at a higher temperature (Heywoth, 2008).

Within social studies, the Secondary 1 and 2 Normal Technical Social Studies topic “Caring for our environment” teaches students how to explain the causes and effects of environmental problems and describe effective ways to manage the environment (CPDD, 2006). The content of the unit revolves around land, water, and air pollution. The issue of climate change is featured in the concluding unit of curriculum. Students learn about the causes and impacts of global warming and are taught how to describe and evaluate the measures adopted to reduce the impact of global warming and climate change. This provides numerous opportunities for teachers to move students from an awareness phase into an action-taking phase (Chang, 2012). Finally, the upper secondary level Social Studies topic “Sustaining Singapore’s economic development” teaches students how to balance our economic development with environmental management.

Teachers need to be able to link the science of climate change to its impact and management. It is therefore important to draw on the concepts uncovered in understanding the science of climate change from the previous section, and reflect on the impact to the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and society:

  1. What are the changes to the weather patterns when we talk about climate change in the last 30 years? Do they vary across regions?
  2. How do the changes in climate affect the amount of water in the hydrologic cycle? Does it affect the amount of water in the oceans?
  3. How will changes in climate affect plant and animal life? Do these changes vary across regions?
  4. How do changes in climate affect our everyday lives?

After understanding the key impact of climate change on human lives and the environment, teachers should then consider and evaluate different management strategies, including adaptation and mitigation strategies. Adaptation refers to living with climate change while mitigation translates into doing something about climate change. While both sets of strategies help people manage climate change as an issue, there is a need to clarify the nature of management so that it students can analyze the strategies and see if they are effective. More specifically, each management strategy needs to be evaluated for its effectiveness and to this end, some of the suggestions that came out of this discussion were to use graphic organizers to help students structure their evaluation.

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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