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ERIC Number: ED551831
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 231
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2678-2897-2
ISSN: N/A
Global Warming in Schools: An Inquiry about the Competing Conceptions of High School Social Studies and Science Curricula and Teachers
Meehan, Casey R.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
Despite the scientific consensus supporting the theory of anthropogenic (human-induced) global warming, whether global warming is a serious problem, whether human activity is the primary cause of it, and whether scientific consensus exists at all are controversial questions among the U.S. lay-public. The cultural theory of risk perception (Schwarz and Thompson, 1990) serves as the theoretical framework for this qualitative analysis in which I ask the question how do U.S. secondary school curricula and teachers deal with the disparity between the overwhelming scientific consensus and the lay-public's skepticism regarding global warming? I analyzed nine widely used social studies and science textbooks, eight sets of supplemental materials about global warming produced by a range of not-for-profit and governmental organizations, and interviewed fourteen high school teachers who had experience teaching formal lessons about global warming in their content area. Findings suggest: 1) the range of global warming content within social studies and science textbooks and supplemental curricula reflects the spectrum of conceptualizations found among members of the U.S. public; 2) global warming curricula communicate only a narrow range of strategies for dealing with global warming and its associated threats; and 3) social studies and science teachers report taking a range of stances about global warming in their classroom, but sometimes the stance they put forth to their students does not align with their personal beliefs about global warming. The findings pose a troubling conundrum. Some of the global warming curricula treat the cause of global warming--a question that is "not" scientifically controversial--as a question with multiple and competing "right" answers. At the same time, much of curricula position how we should address global warming--a question that is legitimately controversial--as a question with one correct answer despite there being many reasonable responses. Finally, I present the implications this conundrum has for teaching about global warming in a politically polarized atmosphere. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A