This comment from JunkkMale originally appeared on Geoff Chambers’ Moderation in Moderation thread. I’ve moved it here, with the comments it attracted, because I think that this is the kind of problem that seriously needs talking about.
The government talks about the importance of individual actions in the fight against climate change, and it is up to each and every one of us whether we buy an electric car, put a solar panel on the roof, or cancel a weekend flight to Rome. Children do not usually have a choice about what they are taught.
This thread has strayed into many areas beyond the main topic, and I for one have enjoyed the quality of debate on display.
One topic I noted was how certain issues are being shared with our kids. To be honest, it was passing interest… until last night.
The subject of ‘who tells, controls’…. especially in terms of authority figures, was rather brought home to me last night.
My kids are revising currently for some serious exams that do count.
One brought in this book, which forms part of the curriculum: AQA GCSE Science Core Higher Ed. Graham Hill. Pub: Hodder Murray
He wanted some advice on a question. From a series including sections such as 3.3, entitled ‘How do humans affect the environment?’ and 3.5 ‘Global Warming’ (other aspects of global warming and the greenhouse effect also covered in Section 6.4, Air Pollution), and 3.6 ‘What can be done to reduce human impact on the environment?. Here it is, as posed, under 6.4, p113:
21. Which of the following three do you think will actually happen? Write a paragraph to explain your answer.
a) We’ll worry and blame ourselves for climate change for thousands of years.
b) Fossil fuels will run out and renewable energy will save us.
c) The oceans will evaporate as the Earth heats up and humans will die.
His face, when I opined that ‘none are very coherent, accurate, or suggest definite answers that are sensible, at least as posed’, was a heartbreaking picture. He just wanted… needed to provide the ‘right’ one as the system demands it to be one of them. Sighing at the ‘will happen’, I therefore attempted to assist based on the hope that the paragraph of explanation would be rewarded if well argued and having a basis in fact and scientific interpretation.
Forget a), which is facile and shows a poor grasp of even basic climate science terminology, though maybe does reflect the ‘worry’ mindset being churned out in some quarters.
If you have to choose, choose b) as fossil fuels will run out. They are finite. As to whether ‘renewable’ energy ‘will’ ‘save’ us, that rather depends on how many of ‘us’ there are, and from what we are being ‘saved’. It seems, currently, optimistic to presume renewable sources can meet all current and projected energy demands.
As for c), well, yes, as the sun goes supernova in a few billion years. But humans may be in a different place by then.
THIS… is what they are being served????!
More touching still was his further plea to me NOT to get in touch with the school with my now serious reservations about the way this information was laid out and the questions posed… as he just wanted to pass the unit and not get in trouble.
If this is the state of education, at least in this area (I now wonder about history, etc), I am seriously troubled not only by the course structures, but the mindsets prevalent in our educational establishment.
Are there any teachers out there who would be prepared to comment? anonymously if necessary.