Climate Confusion Among US Teachers, Plutzer et al.

Published in Science

This study collected data from 1500 public middle- and high-school science teachers from all 50 U.S. states, representative of the population of science teachers in terms of school size, student socioeconomic status, and community economic and political characteristics. The resulting data showed gaps in teacher knowledge and resources. The paper additionally discusses social and political pressures impacting teaching.

To address these issues the paper concludes by highlighting the need for middle-school and high-school teachers to have access to training on current research in climate change. “College and university instructors will need help reaching teachers and teachers-in-training who bring diverse political and value commitments to the classroom—particularly in avoiding “boomerang effects,” in which attempts to promote a particular view can instead harden opposition. This may entail acknowledging and addressing conflicts that teachers (and their students) may feel between their values and the science. Such instruction will promote understanding of the science as well as the pedagogy that future teachers will need to promote climate science literacy.