Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 663–674 | Cite as

Debate on global warming as a socio-scientific issue: science teaching towards political literacy

Forum

Abstract

The focus of this response to the original article by Tom G. H. Bryce and Stephen P. Day (Cult Stud Sci Educ. doi:10.1007/s11422-012-9407-1, 2013) is the use of empirical data to illustrate and expand the understanding of key points of their argument. Initially, I seek to discuss possible answers to the three questions posed by the authors related to: (1) the concerns to be addressed and the scientific knowledge to be taken into account in the climate change debate, (2) the attention to be paid to perspectives taken by “alarmists” and “deniers,” and (3) the approaches to be used to conduct controversial global warming debate. In this discussion, I seek to contribute to the debate proposed by the original paper, illustrating various points commented on by the authors and expanding to other possibilities, which highlight the importance of political issues in the debate. Therefore, I argue that socio-political issues must be taken into account when I aim for a scientific literacy that can enhance students’ political education. Likewise, I extend the debate presented in the original article, emphasizing the attention that should be paid to these aspects and approaching science education from a critical perspective. Highlighting only the confirmation bias without considering political implications of the debate can induce a reductionist and empiricist view of science, detached from the political power that acts on scientific activity. In conclusion, I support the idea that for a critical science education, the discussion of political issues should be involved in any controversial debate, a view, which goes beyond the confirmation bias proposed by Bryce and Day for the global warming debate. These issues are indeed vital and science teachers should take them into account when preparing their lessons for the debate on climate change.

Keywords

Global warming Climate change Socio-scientific issues Scientific literacy Political literacy 

Resumo

O foco desta resposta ao artigo de Tom G. H. Bryce e Stephen P. Day (2013) é apresentar dados empíricos para ilustrar e ampliar a compreensão de pontos-chave abordados por eles. Especificamente, os dados apresentados buscam discutir as três perguntas colocadas pelos autores, relacionadas a: (1) preocupações e conhecimentos científicos para o debate de mudanças climáticas; (2) pontos a serem considerados no debate entre “alarmistas” e “céticos”, e (3) abordagem para argumentação do debate controverso sobre o aquecimento global. Nessa discussão, eu busco contribuir para o debate proposto pelo artigo original, ilustrando pontos comentados pelos autores e ampliando para outras possibilidades, das quais destaca-se a importância do debate de questões políticas. Assim, na discussão das questões colocadas por Bryce e Day, eu introduzo a necessidade de consideração de questões sócio-políticas que devem ser levadas em conta para o letramento científico nas discussões sobre questões sociocientíficas visando a promover uma educação política no ensino de ciências. Dessa forma, eu busco contribuir com exemplos práticos de como um debate de questões controversas potencializa a educação política no ensino de ciências. Em conclusão, eu defendo a ideia de que para uma educação científica crítica é necessária a discussão de questões políticas implicadas no debate controverso, que estão além do viés de confirmação de dados proposto por Bryce e Day no debate sobre a controvérsia do aquecimento global. Essas são questões realmente vitais para professores de ciências tomarem em consideração na preparação de suas aulas, para o debate em torno das mudanças climáticas.

Palavras-chave

Aquecimento global Mudanças climáticas Questões sociocientíficas Letramento científico e político 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This paper is based on a research I carried out in collaboration with my students Karolina Martins Almeida e Silva (PhD in Education) and Aurélio Venturelli Delmondes (Undergraduate in Training Chemistry Teacher). I thank Fernanda Ostermann, who offered significant suggestions on political issues introduced in the review of this manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de QuímicaUniversidade de BrasíliaBrasíliaBrazil

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