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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Secondary science teachers' views on climate change education in British Columbia Shim, Jiyoung


As effects of climate change continue to manifest in serious impacts on human and non-human health and well-being globally, there is the urgent need for research into this climate crisis through an education lens. This necessarily implicates how teachers understand the issues involving climate change and the nature of climate change discourses in which they engage their students. Hence this study investigated secondary school science teachers’ views on climate change and how it is framed or should be framed within secondary school science curriculum and instruction. Investigating science teachers’ views is very important due to the fact that climate change is not sufficiently addressed in many secondary school science curricula and especially in the British Columbia Ministry of Education curriculum. Thus, by employing a qualitative interview method approach, six practising BC secondary science teachers were recruited to participate in a study that sought their views on climate change through a series of semi-structured interviews. The interview data were analysed resulting in key themes that characterised the teachers’ understanding of climate change and related issues and how they taught it. The key themes included: 1) participating teachers’ perspectives on climate change as shaped by their own experiences, their students and society; 2) participating teachers’ assessment of the current BC secondary science curriculum to be lacking on the methodology to teach and structure climate change content; 3) participating teachers’ views that enhancing student experiential and propositional knowledge on climate is the best way to effect change; and 4) participating teachers’ views that climate change topic is best understood by the students when it is taught through place-based pedagogies with an interdisciplinary approach of which science is a part. The study’s findings have implications on how climate change topic and discourses can be framed in the local BC curricula including secondary school science curriculum and instruction.

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