Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change’

Education New Year’s Resolutions 2020

January 1, 2020

 

Below are some New Year’s resolutions I suggest the broader Education sector should take on for 2020 based on an article I wrote a few years ago:

1. Schools Should Become More Involved With Cyberbullying –  At present many schools have opted to turn a blind-eye to cyberbullying.  As the offence occurs out of school hours, a growing number of schools have been only too happy to handball the problem to the parents of the bully. Whilst I believe that parents are ultimately responsible for the actions of their children, I ask that schools do more to help deal with this ongoing problem.

The reason why I feel schools should involve themselves more actively with this issue is that most cyberbullying cases result from pre-existing schoolyard bullying.  Having started in the playground and classroom, the bullying then gets transferred online. Whilst the school isn’t liable for what goes on after school, the problem is often a result of what started during school hours.

To me, the best schools are the ones that work with the parents in a partnership for the wellbeing of their students.  For a school to excel it needs to show that it cares about its students beyond its working hours. That is why a teacher or staff member that is aware of cyberbullying must be able to do more than discuss the issue with the class.  They must be able to contact parents, impose sanctions and actively change the situation at hand.

2. Schools Should Address Mental Health Issues from a Young Age – Youth suicide has become an epidemic, and now that we are more familiar with the problem, schools should make children aware of the pressures they may face before facing them. They should be made aware of the options they may encounter should they fall on hard times, and the places they can go to discuss issues affecting them. Some will argue that teaching children about depression makes them more likely to become depressed. “Don’t give them ideas,” they may say. Well, those people clearly haven’t lost someone to suicide.

3. Schools Should Teach Climate Change Very Differently – This is loosely connected to the previous point. It is quite apparent that a growing percentage of children are feeling extremely anxious about predictions concerning our planet. This is harming our kids. I would like to see climate change taught as an opportunity to motivate children to make good personal decisions and inspire them to lessen their own carbon footprint. I don’t think it’s helpful to have them lie awake at night fearful about what politicians are doing or failing to do. Just like we would never teach young impressionable children about the dangers caused by regularly consuming the treats in their own lunchboxes, I don’t think it’s helpful to make them fearful about what a Government’s environmental policies.

4. It’s Time To Stop Blaming Teachers For Everything – Education is supposed to be a team effort.  All parts of the system are supposed to work with each other and for each other.  Yet, it always seems to be that the teachers get singled out for blame.  Poor testing results – blame the teachers, a bullying problem – blame the teachers, lack of classroom control – yep, let’s blame the teachers for that too.

The question has to be asked: At what point do we focus our attention on the administrators when handing out the blame? It seems to me that whilst there is always going to be poor teachers in the system, nowhere near enough focus is directed to policymakers as well as those in management positions and on school counsels.

5. More support for kids floundering in the classroom – Differentiation is an essential practice in a modern classroom, but it doesn’t completely address the issues at hand. When a child is 3 class levels below their peers, what does one do? If the school can’t get funding for that child, what then? The same goes for children on the spectrum. They require a more controlled and traditional classroom set-up. The new, more chaotic and interactional style of teaching and learning doesn’t seem to be doing them wonders. How does a teacher give them what they need without stifling other learners who are embracing group learning and creative and engaging lesson planning? These issues need to be dealt with to support teachers.

 

I must stress that these resolutions don’t necessarily apply to my own workplace, but from what I am discovering, are very big issues that should be considered over the course of the year.

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Why Time Magazine Might Have Got it Wrong

December 13, 2019

 

I have some points to make about the decision to award Greta Thunberg as Time Person of the Year.

 

  1. I think it’s fantastic that a teenager won this prestigious award. It is vital that our youth have role models. There are too many teenagers who are totally unaware of the world around them and have few insights on big-picture issues. I hope Greta’s recognition makes it cool for young people to engage socially and politically.
  2. The slurs against Greta from Donald Trump and haters on social media is absolutely out of line. She is a teenager, and even though she has chosen to become a public face and celebrity figure, we should never, ever forget that she is a minor. Picking on kids is not acceptable.
  3. This doesn’t mean that her style of messaging can’t be criticised. I have long wondered whether scaring young children on climate change is the right approach. Already there have been reports in psychological journals detailing how the doom and gloom style of messaging is causing anxiety and depression in our young children.
  4. My main issue with Greta receiving the award is that, from what I’m told, she does not attend school. This troubles me. I must make it clear. I am not judging Greta personally for not attending school. I am not completely aware of her own personal circumstances, so it would be inappropriate for me to pass judgement. However, widely speaking, I am not in favour of giving prestigious awards to kids that don’t go to school.

In fact, I think the pro-education message is much stronger than the pro-climate message. The more we tackle school refusal and truancy the more likely we will be able to foster generations of kids who will have the tools to speak up about the climate and any other major issue affecting our world.

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can download a free ebook copy by clicking here or buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Scaring Our Children About Climate Change is Poor Education

September 24, 2013

gore

 

This post is not about the legitimacy of climate change. I personally believe in climate change but require more evidence as to the extent of how our actions will cause ‘dangerous’ ramifications,

There is a campaign to teach children climate science following a certain ‘consensus’. Only trouble is, education doesn’t and should never operate using a consensus model. Education is about an exchange of ideas and the search for truth. It isn’t about hammering one line of thinking at the exclusion of others.

The worst byproduct of the ‘consensus technique’ of teaching children is that educators realise that many children won’t understand the science of it, so they have resorted to alarmism and outrageous prognostications instead. This not only scares children, but is phoney and grossly insensitive.

 

One of the most shameful aspects of the scare-mongering over “global warming” (sic) is the way that children are exploited and frightened.

Save the planet for the sake of our children and our grandchildren, goes the line. Over and over again. Children will be hardest hit, and so forth.

There is anecdotal evidence that young children are being seriously frightened by this event, an event that may in fact not be happening, may not have very serious consequences, and probably cannot be stopped.

A young child wrote to the website of UK magazine Country Living, saying she was scared because she had read a report that “global warming” (sic) would bring more and poisonous spiders to her garden.

A four year old boy had to receive psychological treatment because he had become irrationally and uncontrollably frightened into believing the end of the world was nigh and that he was about to die.

 

Surely instead of frightening kids with stories about dead polar bears and melting ice caps we can teach the positive aspects about looking after our environment, such as recycling and conserving electricity and water.  After all, positive behaviours are best brought about by positive messages.

 

Click on the link to read Our Children and the Disgusting Climate of Fear

Our Children and the Disgusting Climate of Fear

March 6, 2012

I love my job but if the Government ever forces me to scare my students in the name of “science” I will plainly refuse. I would sooner lose my job than transfer the negatively geared, sensationalistic, propaganda, intended at frightening children into believing that the world is going to go to bits because of man-made global warming.

I am more than happy to help motivate my students to care for their environment and reduce their own carbon footprints – this is a positive message. However, the Government, United Nations and various scientific agencies have no interest in positive messages. Their game is to fill our young impressionable children with fear and dread. These people believe that a nightmare in the name of science makes the experience worthwhile.

Just watch this advertisement below. This is no underground commercial. This was played at the Copenhagen Climate Summit. It is absolutely appalling! It has as much scientific value as a mound of cow turd! How dare they use children like that. What manipulative cowards they are! Who needs to communicate truths when you can terrorise children?

Anthony Sharwood is right in his assessment of this advertisement and the message we our sending our impressionable young:

One of the worst things I’ve seen in ages was the Copenhagen Climate Summit opening film, where a small child has terrible, apocalyptic nightmares after learning about human-induced climate change.

He is also correct in offering a much more palatable alternative in teaching the challenges of conserving our environment.

My six year old daughter has been learning about Earth Hour at school. Want to know how to really inspire her and others like her to save the world? Get them to love it, not fear it. Allow them to develop their own sense of environmental responsibility, rather than indoctrinating them to feel part of a “problem”.

I’m not a perfect parent. If anyone has an IKEA-style parenthood manual complete with helpful Swedish pictograms, please loan it to me. But one piece of parenting I think I’ve gotten right is instilling a deep love of nature in both my kids.

Together, we’ve bushwalked, skied and swum in some of Australia’s most beautiful locations. We’ve thrown summer snowballs on a New Zealand volcano and caught (and then released) tadpoles in a clear, Blue Mountains stream.

At home, I teach my kids about clouds and the wind direction, and always Google the birds that alight on our backyard trees, so that we can observe their habits armed with a few facts. How many city kids do you know that tell the difference between a white cockatoo and a Corella?

One day, I hope my daughter becomes an environmental scientist or activist who helps save the world. More likely, she’ll live a regular life with a regular job, and that’ll be fine too. Either way, I’m sure she’ll choose to pursue a lifestyle of modest consumption and environmental light-stepping.

If ever called on to teach this subject in such a negative way I will flatly refuse. If they force an educational pack on me I will immediately throw it in the bin (recycle bin, of course).

One wonders why those investing time into spreading the message about our carbon footprint consistently put their foot in it.

Scaring Our Children Senseless

November 9, 2011

It is the responsibility of parents and teachers to protect children and educate them on the dangers that exist in the ‘real world’.  However, in attempting to prepare children for incidents and scenarios that are unlikely to happen we have seemingly created a fear and paranoia that has proven quite destructive to the same children we are trying to protect.

A surge in reports of men acting suspiciously near schoolchildren has triggered urgent talks between schools and police, who fear the ‘‘stranger danger’’ message has gone into overdrive.

Police say heightened fears of children being stalked on Gold Coast streets are unfounded, and the increase in reports is the result of people jumping at shadows after a rash of incorrect media stories.

Regional Crime Coordinator Dave Hutchinson says some incidents are made up, and others are cases of children taking fright for no good reason.

I am a bit concerened at how scared and anxious our children are becoming, and teachers are slightly to blame.  Besides stranger danger and other programes that inhabit fear in students, many teachers in Australia have been scaring children with doom and gloom predictions about global warming.  No matter what your position is on this issue, it is important that teachers instruct, educate and empower children, instead of frighten or demoralise them.

There is a huge difference between helping students become perceptive, instinctive and responsible and helping them to  become fearful and paranoid.

At the end of the day, the importance of the message is lost when it inspires an irrational and overpowering fear.

Education on Climate Change, Not Scare Tactics

July 10, 2011

No matter how strongly teachers may feel on the subject of climate change, there is no place for scare tactics in a Primary classroom.

PRIMARY school children are being terrified by lessons claiming climate change will bring “death, injury and destruction” to the world unless they take action.

On the eve of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s carbon tax package announcement, psychologists and scientists said the lessons were alarmist, created unneeded anxiety among school children and endangered their mental health.

Climate change as a “Doomsday scenario” is being taught in classrooms across Australia.

Resource material produced by the Gillard government for primary school teachers and students states climate change will cause “devastating disasters”.

Australian National University’s Centre for the Public Awareness of Science director Dr Sue Stocklmayer said climate change had been portrayed as “Doomsday scenarios with no way out”.

The fear campaign must stop.  It is a manipulative and immature tactic by a desperate Government.  Our job as educators is to empower and motivate not scare our students senseless.

I refuse to teach Government resource material that has the potential to frighten my students.


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