Climate Science Language in US Secondary School Student Textbooks, 2002–2012
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Climate science language has a profound effect on students, lending voice and power to a complex, and at times, controversial subject despite scientific consensus. Climate science language usage for US secondary earth science textbooks from 2002 to 2012 is examined. Future decision-makers will need to be climate-literate in order to make choices about how to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change. Formal education plays a key role in creating an informed citizenry – one that is able to evaluate information for its reliability, validity, and veracity in order to draw reasonable and logical conclusions. In the US’s K-12 schools, science education is largely reliant on educational textbooks and publisher-supplied materials. Textbooks strive to reach a broad national audience often using general language and simplified topics, but climate science is an interdisciplinary and complicated topic. As such, understanding what earth science textbooks include and how it is conveyed provides an opportunity for publishers, scientists, and schools to better communicate scientific results and human decisions in order to address and understand climate change’s complexity.
KeywordsClimate change education Textbooks Secondary education Earth science Climate literacy
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