Trust and Climate Change: information for teaching in a digital age

This project is bringing together an interdisciplinary team (including from the Education Department and the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford, and Secondary schools and teachers through the Education Deanery) to address two key issues; climate change, and the information that is taught in school classrooms.

Climate change is a complex and urgent issue facing society and involving multiple knowledge’s including; the science describing and modelling climate change, and policy and social responses to climate change. The urgency is acknowledged through the climate emergencies recently declared by institutions, and public responses including climate strikes. The urgency in which these issues are framed, their complexity, and the fast-moving nature of both academic and popular discourses around climate change combine to complicate the nature of school teachers’ engagement with the topic. We know that teachers are making increasing use of online resources: to ‘google’ something is a significant aspect of the epistemic environments in which teachers now work. However, little is known about teachers’ searches for and selections of information (in general, and specifically in the context of climate change). Therefore, there is an urgent need for research to explore the sources of information teachers are accessing and the explanations and arguments being made around climate change in order to provide novel understandings of teachers’ use of online resources, shedding light on concepts of trust, evidence and authority. This initial project will enable us to draft a research agenda which will investigate how to transform climate change teaching.


Former team member: Nicola Warren-Lee