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Top Tips for Teaching about Climate Change

Climate Change ….. One of the most used phrases being thrown around by people. Not only in politics, but in education, business, and everyday conversations. But do we really know what we are talking about and are we putting our best foot forward as teachers to ensure we educate the future generation about this topic?

Let me start by making it very clear. I AM NOT A CLIMATE CHANGE EXPERT!!! But I am a teaching expert and I think the latter is more important. In Asia, plastic pollution is in my face everywhere I look. From poisoning and injuring marine life by disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet. In response, Earth Day 2018 (coming up on April 22) is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitude and behaviour about plastics.

After doing a lot of research, speaking with multiple educators from all over the world and speaking to students in my school, I have listed below 5 tips for teaching about Climate Change in your classroom – enjoy!
  1. Don’t preach it, know the facts – Climate Change is often considered a buzzword that has been in our life now for 10 years. It is thrown around lightly but shouldn’t be. Don’t buy into using it without knowing the facts. Spend time with your class to learn something new. Do your researchand use your new found knowledge to make a difference in your school and community.
  2. Link it to REAL learning – Don’t let it be a random introduction to your classroom and a one-off activity. Think about how you can embed learning about our Earth into your curriculum and make it a sustainable part of your teaching and learning programmes. Integration is key.
  3. Bring in the experts – I say this a lot – “you don’t have to be the expert in everything you do in the classroom, but being a connected educator means that you can connect and engage with experts from all over the world for FREE”. Why not use the Microsoft Education Portal to search for Climate Change experts willing to chat with your class or put a tweet out on Twitter looking for support. Bringing in the experts is easier than ever in the digital world we live in.
  4. Set up and lead an Eco-Club – I am a HUGE believer in student agency and believe that empowering students to lead your school can bring about true and sustainable change. Why not launch an Eco-club in your school like we have at my school. The Eco-club consists of students across the school run by a mentor teacher who creates, plan and run initiatives that benefit the community. Their main job is to make everyone at the school understand the importance of a sustainable way of life and to act accordingly. Here is a guide from WWF on how to set up your own Eco-club in your school.
  5. Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk – Make a difference, empower student agency and get involved yourself. The best way to make change is to start with yourself. Don’t just stand at the front of your class and use the buzz word but be a role model and make changes in your daily life to cut down plastic waste and share it with the world.

With Earth Day coming up on April 22nd why not get the conversations started by using some of the above strategies and ideas. This year the campaign is dedicated to ending plastic pollution by 2020. You can use some of these Earth Day resources and activities to supplement your whole school strategies and approaches:

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The author

Craig is a passionate Head of Educational Technology at a large International School in Singapore. He is a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. Craig loves to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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