Climate change and the curriculum

 

Sir, – I refer to the article “Why isn’t climate change on the curriculum?” (Sarah Mooney, Education, September 24th).

As a geography teacher, I have the opportunity to teach climate change and sustainability in a relevant and informative way, linking aspects of human and physical geography to real world examples at local, national and international levels. This idea is at the core of geography teaching. I believe that, as geography teachers, we have a moral duty to teach these topics and find ways to integrate them into the curriculum. I think the new Junior Cycle gives teachers the perfect platform to convey these important ideas. It is just a shame that geography is now deemed not important enough to be a core subject. Students may never get an opportunity to learn about climate change and sustainability. – Yours, etc,

EITHNE MORROW,

Skerries,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – The calls by the Student Climate Activist Network for sustainability and climate change to be prominent in the secondary curriculum are most welcome.

However, the Government’s recent downgrading of geography as a core Junior Cycle subject undermines the teaching of these areas. Geography, as a discipline that bridges the natural and social sciences, can provide in-depth understanding of the causes and impacts of climate change, as well as the pathways to produce innovative solutions. It is essential that this perspective is reprioritised to provide students with the knowledge that they are seeking. – Yours etc,

Dr RICHARD SCRIVEN,

Department of Geography,

University College Cork.

Sir, – Sarah Mooney’s article fails to acknowledge that climate change education is specifically provided for in the new Junior Cycle geography specification (among several others).

While the article looks like yet another Irish Times plug for an Educate Together short course, it also fails to acknowledge that climate does not exist in a vacuum and that education in climate should exist within the structure of a broader discipline that gives our children a holistic view of the world rather than within a semi-edutainment short course. And there is the rub. Having removed geography from the core curriculum, we now find that the gaps in our children’s education is not created by the subject, but by the failure of policymakers lacking exactly that informed and holistic view of a child’s development.

It goes without saying that geography should be returned to the core curriculum. But it seems there are too few brave people about to acknowledge the mistakes that have been made in the Junior Cycle reform. Correcting them would only strengthen the new Junior Cycle. – Yours, etc,

PETER LYDON,

President,

Association of Geography

Teachers of Ireland,

Dublin 22.