ERIC Number: EJ1130303
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Polar Bears or People? Exploring Ways in Which Teachers Frame Climate Change in the Classroom
Busch, K. C.
International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, v6 n2 p137-165 2016
Not only will young adults bear the brunt of the effects of climate change, but they are also the ones who will be required to take action-to mitigate and to adapt. Framing, as both a theory and an analytic method, has been used to understand how language in the media can affect the audience's concern and intention to act. The theory and the analytic methods of framing were adapted and applied to answer the research question: How do teachers frame climate change in the classroom? Twenty-five lessons from seven teachers were analyzed using semiotic discourse analysis methods. Teachers' frames overlapped to form two distinct discourses: a Science Discourse and a Social Discourse. The dominant Science Discourse can be summarized as follows: "Climate change is a current scientific problem that will have profound global effects on the Earth's physical systems." The Social Discourse, used much less often, can be summarized as follows: "Climate change is a future social issue because it will have negative impacts on people at the local level." While it is not surprising that the Science Discourse was heard most often in these science classrooms, framing research suggests it is problematic. The research literature on framing indicates that the frames found in the Science Discourse--global scale, scientific statistics and facts, and impact on the Earth's systems--are not likely to inspire action. In contrast, the frames found within the Social Discourse--local scale, impact on humans, and connections to social, economic, and political processes--are more likely to inspire action. The implications for the classroom are discussed.
Descriptors: Climate, Change, Ecology, Teaching Methods, Environmental Education, Semiotics, Discourse Analysis, Sciences, Social Problems, Faculty Development, Secondary School Teachers, Qualitative Research, Case Studies, Coding, Graphs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A