Chemistry teachers' views on teaching 'climate change' - an interview case study from research-oriented learning in teacher education
This paper presents a case study from research-oriented learning in chemistry teacher education. The study evaluates the views of twenty experienced German chemistry teachers about the teaching of climate change in chemistry education. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews about the teachers' experiences and their views about desirable teaching practices. The interviews were conducted and evaluated by advanced chemistry student teachers in the framework of a university seminar. Analysis was done with an eye towards teachers' overall ideas concerning where this topic should come in the curriculum, the potential amount of time allocated to it, and the content of lessons connected to climate change within chemistry education. The results show a variety of different points of view. Although all the teachers emphasized, more or less, the importance of students' learning about climate change, they also documented a lack of consensus about the place within the chemistry curriculum for the impact of climate change. There is no consensus on whether to teach about the chemistry of climate change starting in early lower secondary education, or to postpone the issue completely until the upper secondary chemistry education. As there is no agreement about the place in the curriculum there is no agreement either about the different roles the single school subjects should play, or the amount of time to be dedicated to the issue of climate change. Concerning the suggested amount of time, the practices reported range from single periods on different aspects of climate change from time to time to individual teachers considering the issue to be so important as to teach whole self-contained units on the subject. Overall, it seems that for the majority of the teachers the great emphasis on learning about climate change mentioned by them, does not result in making climate change a prominent issue in its own right within the chemistry curriculum.