Out of the Vacuum

Submitted By:
Ned Heckman, Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, CT

5 Ways to Teach Climate Change, COVID-19 in Polarized Times by Madeline Will
Education Week, Vol. 41, Issue 14, November 24, 2021

In her article "5 Ways to Teach Climate Change, COVID-19 in Polarized Times," Madeline Will offers solutions to teaching about science that has become caught up in culture wars—vaccines and climate change, specifically. She explores national trends, noting that over a quarter of surveyed teachers devoted roughly equal time to whether humans caused climate change. Additionally, a majority (60%) of surveyed teachers didn't bring up vaccines at all in life science classes for fear of administration or parent backlash. So what do we do? Will suggests emphasizing media literacy, keeping parents in the loop, and helping students evaluate the evidence on their own. There is a difference between thinking independently and thinking differently, and teachers—not just of science—must be aware that nothing we teach exists in a political vacuum. Articles like this one help us acknowledge the diverse perspectives of our student communities, and prepare us to teach the critical thinking skills we promise on admission.

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