Survey says teachers are not spending enough time teaching climate change to students.
New research from a survey of public middle-and high-school teachers has scientists concerned about the teaching of climate change and its causes in the schools systems of America, according to an article on Live Science.
The survey reveled that the median number of hours spent on climate change instruction was only somewhere between one and two per year. Overall, 70 percent of middle-school teachers and 87 percent of high-school teachers say they spend more than one hour per year on climate change instruction.
Despite the fact that a survey of climate scientists in 2009 found 94.7 percent agreed that climate change was being caused by humans burning fossil fuels, US teachers are apparently unaware of the consensus. The new survey revealed 70 percent of middle-school and 55 percent of high-school teachers say they were unaware that over 80 percent of climate scientists agree on the causes of climate change.
The survey, by the National Center for Science Education, Pennsylvania State and Wright State University, reported only 30 percent of all teachers emphasized the fact that humans are causing climate change. Almost the same number, 31 percent, say they are teaching the “controversy” by instructing students that some scientists are saying climate change is caused by humans, but others disagree. Another 12 percent say they don’t mention human causes at all when discussing the subject.
At odds with the data was the fact the some 68 percent of the instructors say they personally believe climate change is being caused by human actions, and researchers explain instructors may not be familiar enough with current research about the phenomenon. Only 4.4 percent say they have been pressured to not include global warming in their class instructions.
The research team wrote that fewer than half of the responding teachers had received any formal instruction about climate change in college., but the researchers say, they would welcome continuing education that focused on climate sciences. The team says half the teachers who denied the scientific consensus about climate change would also be willing to undergo additional training.
Despite the overwhelming consensus among climate scientists, there are still many dissenters, even in the scientific community, that believe climate change is a naturally occurring phenomenon, and they think the schools should be teaching both sides of the controversy to students.
The findings from the latest survey can be found in the journal Science.