Local weather change is devalued in college textbooks – so extra watts?

Essay by Eric Worrall

There is evidence that university science teachers are intentionally skipping climate indoctrination.

Climate change content is shrinking in US university textbooks

Since the 2000s, sections on climate change in biology textbooks have become shorter and further back.

McKenzie Prillman
December 21, 2022

University biology textbooks published in the United States in the 2010s contained less climate change content than those in the 2000s1, despite the increasing urgency of the climate crisis.

Researchers evaluated 57 textbooks published between 1970 and 2019. They counted the sentences in the books’ climate change passages—marked by phrases like “global warming” and “greenhouse gas”—and found that the mean number of sentences per passage increased up until the 2000s (see “A textbook change”). It peaked at 52 that decade, but then dropped back to 45 in the 2010s. (The authors considered the median to be better than the average because of the wide range of passage lengths.)

In addition, the median position of sections on climate change moved from the bottom 15% of pages in the 1970s – when many scientists first became convinced that the planet was warming – to the bottom 2.5% in the 2010s years. Controversial topics are usually placed at the end, Landin says, because “it allows teachers to ‘run out of time’ and then not have to teach them.”

The topics within the passages on climate change have also shifted. Since the 1990s, the proportion of sentences dedicated to solutions has declined while content on the impacts of climate change, including extreme weather conditions and worsening diseases, has increased. Landin commends this more holistic view of the impact. But with the concomitant decline in solutions, she says, the balance of content is skewing towards despair.

Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-04487-6

The abstract of the study;

Reporting of climate change in introductory biology textbooks, 1970–2019

Rabiya Arif Ansari, Jennifer M Landin
Released: December 21, 2022

Climate change is a major threat to human society, biodiversity and ecosystem stability. However, a 2021 Gallup poll found that only 43% of Americans see climate change as a serious threat in their lifetime. In this study, we analyze coverage of climate change in biology textbooks from 1970 to 2019. We focus on four aspects for content analysis: 1) the extent of coverage, determined by counting the number of sentences within the climate change passage, 2) the Beginning location of the passage in the book, 3) categorizing sentences that appeal to a description of the greenhouse effect, the effects of global warming, or actions to mitigate climate change, and 4) presenting data in numbers. We analyzed 57 textbooks. Our results show that reporting on climate change has steadily increased, although the largest increase occurred in the 1990s, despite growing threats from climate change. The position of the climate change passage moved further down the book, from the last 15% to the last 2.5% of the pages. Over time, reporting shifted from describing the greenhouse effect primarily to the effects of climate change; The most frequently raised impacts were the shifting of ecosystems. Sentences devoted to actionable solutions to climate change peaked in the 1990s at over 15% of passages and then declined to 3% in recent decades. The data numbers only show global temperatures and CO2 levels before the year 2000, and then include photographic evidence and changes in species distribution after 2000. We hope this study will alert curriculum designers and teachers to consider implicit messages that are being taught in climate change classrooms mediated.

Read more: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0278532

The study’s authors also accuse science teachers of being climate deniers or being “confused” about climate change;

Science teachers deny or confused about climate change. Plitzer et al. examines in depth the teaching methods and educational backgrounds of teachers in relation to climate change [12]. They found that although most teachers cover the topic, 31% report that they explicitly send conflicting messages to teach “both sides”. Almost a third of teachers emphasized that recent global warming is “probably due to natural causes,” and 12% emphasize no human causes at all. Less than half of the teachers said they received formal training on climate change at college.

The order of the chapters can play a crucial role in how or if content is covered in the classroom. Controversial issues such as reproduction, evolution, and conservation were placed in biology textbooks in the 1930s, beginning a tradition of book organization that continues today [16]. Teachers typically work their way through a textbook from one chapter to the next, and in studies examining teachers’ use of textbooks, Chapters at the end of the books are often skipped [17, 18].

Read more: Same link as above

Here’s a way. Perhaps textbooks push climate indoctrination to the end and degrade the content because Science teachers drive the market by finding and buying textbooks that make it easier for them not to indoctrinate their students.

Something like that gives me hope. If I’m correct, when researchers fret about the climate propaganda but keep it to themselves, then all it takes is a spark, too big a push, like a significant increase in climate content in exams, and climate activists could have a vacancy in academic rebellion her hands.


item rating

Like this:

Like Loading…

Comments are closed.