Paper No. 317-10
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM
GRAPPLING WITH GLOBAL CHANGE: THE PEDAGOGICAL CHALLENGE OF THE 21ST CENTURY
Humans have become a force of nature, not only altering the climate system through the combustion of fossil fuels and other activities, but disturbing ecosystems and biodiversity through pollution, habitat destruction, and altering water, nitrogen, and other natural cycles and processes. The recently released Next Generation Science Standards, which many states are in the process of adopting, emphasize the human components of global change. In order to address the challenges that educators face in their own understanding of these complex, cross-disciplinary topics, the National Center for Science Education, the UC Museum of Paleontology, and BSCS--as part of the development of the Understanding Global Change website--surveyed secondary and post-secondary educators across the country to find out how and why they teach about global change. Results indicate that many educators consider global change and climate change to be synonymous, emphasizing atmospheric aspects of climate change but leaving out many other aspects of global change such as disease emergence that may be unrelated to direct climate impacts. Many educators indicate they lack background and confidence in teaching topics such as phenology, ocean acidification, and "rates of change". These results indicate that some aspects of human impacts of global environmental change are being taught by educators represented in the survey, but that there is a disconnect between the scientific and educational communities in their understanding of global change issues, indicating there is a need for high-quality resources and professional development to help prepare educators to teach their students about these 21st century challenges.