Are schools doing enough to inform pupils about the challenges facing them as 21st century citizens?
Climate change has been prevalent in the news of late; there is a social movement, which our young learners are leading, across the Globe. Young people went on a “climate strike" earlier this year to bring attention to the way Climate Change threatens their futures. Recently, George Monboit’s interview on Frankie Boyle’s New World Order – where he spoke openly about making change - went viral. He asked the question, “since when was GDP a sensible measure of human welfare?” (which is a question worth exploring at another time) and goes on to say that the Government needs to find another way of measuring growth and leave fossil fuels in the ground.
Teaching about Climate change is not a statutory requirement at the Primary stage, however there is an opportunity for learning about ‘Living things and their habitats’. Obviously there are many opportunities to link learning about climate change across the curriculum, but the degree of teaching largely depends on the emphasis placed - by teachers or schools - on the importance of the subject, which will vary from school to school and from teacher to teacher. The question is should there be a more focused approach when teaching about global issues?
Ultimately, climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the human race in the 21st century. Our role as educators is to facilitate opportunities where pupils can acquire knowledge about these problems, and generate ways of making their voice heard in order to have a positive impact - working towards meaningful outcomes through applying skills they have developed over time. Surely we have a duty to show our children that they have a voice and that voice can be heard. The younger generation should be shown that they can have impact on society, their local community and understand that they can be empowered to promote change.
Of course we need to manage our message to ensure we aren’t putting unnecessary stress on already stressed little shoulders, but surely our pupils should take part in these important discussions? We must give our pupils the awareness of social issues - that will help form the foundations for their future decisions– but an awareness that is appropriate for their age. These are problems that we must face together and our pupils are part of the solution.
Are we doing enough to:
- empower our pupils to be the change?
- provide pupils with the information they need to be a good global citizen?
- Show young people that they have a voice and that their opinion matters?
- Make people aware of the impact of their choices?
Or are we just preparing them to sit a test that is focused on the acquisition of knowledge, to determine the successfulness of schools who are confined to an already out of date curriculum?