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Social controversy belongs in the climate science classroom

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Abstract

Scientists, educators and stakeholders are grappling with how to best approach climate change education for diverse audiences, a task made difficult due to persistent social controversy. This Perspective examines how sociocultural learning theories can inform the design and implementation of climate change education experiences for learners with varied understandings of and attitudes towards climate change. The literature demonstrates that explicitly addressing learners' social and community experiences, values and knowledge supports understandings of and increased concern about climate change. Science learning environments that situate climate change in its social context can support conceptual understandings, shift attitudes and increase the participation of diverse communities in responding to climate change. Examples are provided of successful programmes that attend to social dimensions and learners' previous experiences, including experiences of social controversy.

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E.M.W. and B.K.T. jointly conceived the paper. E.M.W. wrote the text of the paper with input, feedback and editing by B.K.T.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth M. Walsh.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Walsh, E., Tsurusaki, B. Social controversy belongs in the climate science classroom. Nature Clim Change 4, 259–263 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2143

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