Advancing a Framework for Climate Change Education in Singapore Through Teacher Professional Development, pp. 7 of 8

Conceptualizing Teaching Climate Change

Next, the teachers generated a visual depiction of how they organized the various concepts of cognitive engagement, subject-matter knowledge and the domains of causes, impact and management. The graphic organizers produced by the teachers showed that there are different ways to conceptualize CCE.

Figure 2 shows samples of frameworks were drawn during the workshop by teachers to create a better understanding of what to focus on whilst teaching the students on climate change

While all the frameworks produced by the participants showed various possible conceptions of CCE, one teacher’s contribution was particularly interesting (see Figure 3).

This framework situates the learning of climate change causes, impact and management as the context of learning. While the various cognitive and affective domains of learning – knowledge, skills and values - are represented as circles within this context, the intersections indicate action will only result from students being able to combine content knowledge with a strong belief in the necessity of mitigating the environmental situation. Teachers should factor this when designing instruction. 

During the workshop, the teachers were asked to consider not just the knowledge domain but also the cognitive engagement required as an outcome of that topic. Consequently, a teacher should conceptualize the way the lesson is carried out and the type of assessment that can help her/him determine if the student has learnt the skill as well as the knowledge required.

Given the increased focus on the need to respond to changing climate (Hussain, 2007), climate change education has become increasingly important in many countries. This workshop suggests that Singapore teachers will need to consider their own subject-matter knowledge about climate change and to consider the relationship between the different cognitive and affective domains of learning. In sum, there is certainly a need to educate the future generation of Singapore to ensure that we have a sustainable future (Tan & Chang, 2008). Consequently, as educators, we should not just aim to raise students’ environmental awareness (Tan, Lee, & Goh, 1998) but focus, instead, on providing deeper and more relevant learning experiences.

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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