Approved by NCTE Members Voting at the Annual Business Meeting for the
Board of Directors and Other Members of the Council, November 2018
Background: Climate change is not simply a scientific or technological issue, but one with enormous ethical, social, political, and cultural dimensions. Understanding climate change challenges the imagination; addressing climate change demands all the tools of language and communication, including the ability to tell compelling stories about the people and conflicts at the heart of this global discussion.
Addressing climate change demands the involvement of English language arts teachers: “We believe that a purely science-oriented approach to climate change can miss the social, historical, ethical, and human realities that are critical to the problem” (Beach et al., 2017, p. 7). Students need to explore images, texts, ideas, perspectives, and issues; need to empathize with victims of climate change; need to imagine consequences and possibilities, and take action individually, locally, and nationally. They need our guidance in learning how to read and communicate about these vital and troubling issues. Be it therefore
Resolved that the National Council of Teachers of English encourage teachers and teacher educators to
- resist the politicization of climate science by evaluating curricular texts for scientific credibility;
- lead students to engage thoughtfully with texts focusing on social and political debates surrounding climate change; and
- work with teachers in other fields to implement interdisciplinary instruction on climate change and sustainability.
Beach, R., Share, J., & Webb, A. (2017). Teaching climate change to adolescents: Reading, writing, and making a difference. New York, NY, and Urbana, IL: Routledge and NCTE.
On February 22, 2019, the NCTE Executive Committee formally approved this resolution, which was first introduced and voted on by the Board of Directors at the 2018 Annual Convention. The resolution was introduced to the entire membership for a vote in January before final review by the Executive Committee.
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