The urgency of the climate crisis should be taught in schools, say teachers

Teachers want children to take a public stand against the climate crisis, according to a new survey conducted by the University of Bristol. 

The survey, which involved 626 teachers from across England revealed that more than half are in favour of teaching children to take direct action and break the rules in order to make their point on the urgency of the climate crisis.

The results revealed that teachers are almost unanimously in favour of an action-focused climate change curriculum incorporated across subjects.

A further 54% said they believe this should extend to participation in civil disobedience at secondary school.

Generally, the data suggests that teachers are aligned with a scientific opinion regarding the urgency of the climate crisis. 97% of teachers in England believe climate change was caused by humans, compared to 39% of teachers in the US.

Currently, in England, climate change education is limited to Science and Geography lessons at secondary school. It doesn’t require students to understand the wider impact of climate change on the environment, economy and society.

man and woman sitting on chairs

Professor Howard-Jones, from the university’s School of Education and Cabot Institute for the Environment, said: ‘Teachers want their students to be informed in how they think and what they do about the climate emergency. They are ready and willing to move forward with radical, action-oriented programmes of education that can help students drive our response to climate change.

‘Despite being under-represented in the National Curriculum, climate change is something many young people feel passionate about. School children have been inspired by Greta Thunberg, who has demonstrated the importance of peaceful protest to raise awareness of the climate crisis and spur individual as well as large-scale change.

‘They have also seen the tactics of groups like Extinction Rebellion and many have become activists already.

‘Our research indicates that teachers are prepared to support their activism through an action-oriented approach to Climate Change Education. With COP26 being hosted in the UK in November, there has never been a better time to reflect on how we’re preparing young people for the defining issue of today.’

Photo by NeONBRAND



Pippa Neill


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