Exploring educational values of deliberative pedagogy as a means of climate change communication
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Climate change is a major obstacle facing the world today, impacting the environment and communities across the globe. With rising greenhouse gas emissions and subsequent rising surface temperatures, evidence shows that humans are the culprit. Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree that a global disaster is eminent if there are no changes (Cook et. al., 2016). Strategic action is needed to respond to climate change, and education and effective communication could be imperative to increasing public awareness and better decision-making. One tool used to increase education and communication is public forums. Public forums allow for deliberative public dialog, or deliberation, which provides individuals the opportunity to come together, discuss, and work through complex issues in an open format. According to recent studies, deliberation is an effective means of exploring issues and ultimately leading to potential solutions. Deliberation delivers new ideas and perspectives to individuals, and can help deepen general understanding of climate change. The effects of climate change are felt most by those not included in the conversation. This study evaluated the effectiveness of deliberative pedagogy as a means of climate change education by using a quasi-experimental design. The study involved 18 high school students. We hypothesized that deliberation through environmental issue forums (EIF) would promote knowledge, awareness, hope, and trust regarding climate change, leading to action and solutions. Program effectiveness was measured using pre-and post-test instruments. Results of the study suggest that deliberation as a means of education and communication can be an effective way to engage high school students with climate change. There was significant data indicating that knowledge, awareness, and hope regarding climate change increased after individuals participated in deliberation and the forum. These findings lead to recommendations of deliberation research that should consider examining wider demographics and various diverse, youth populations.
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