Presenter Information

Emma H. KieferFollow

Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Nicky Phear

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Climate Change Studies

Abstract

Climate change is the defining issue of our time. It will disproportionately impact young people, less developed and impoverished nations, global agricultural systems, and vulnerable ecosystems across the globe. Current and future generations of students must be educated and empowered to tackle the problem. My research looks at the experience of students learning about climate change in an introductory climate change class, CCS 103X, at the University of Montana. I evaluate data from survey questionnaires taken at the beginning and the end of the class, and comments made during and after each class, to evaluate the relationship between the attitudes about climate change given by lecturers to agency and pathway thoughts in students, as well as students’ overall emotional response to global warming. I draw from Dr. Charles R. Snyder’s Hope Theory to understand how certain thoughts may help students to achieve their objectives and develop a stronger sense of agency. I also look to multiple studies from Maria Ojala, an associate professor at Ӧrebro University, to understand the influence of hope on young people, and how this affects their willingness to not only learn about environmental issues, but to engage in solutions. Understanding the complex role that emotions play in youth development is vital to effectively teach climate change in the classroom. This project is compelling because it looks at the ways that professors speak about climate change and relates it back to students’ own feelings about their abilities to enact change and the different ways they calculate and reach their goals. Now more than ever, it is crucial that educators use their positions of authority to empower and engage their students on a transformational level that encourages them to go outside of the class and find solutions to the problems in their own communities.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 27th, 4:00 PM Apr 27th, 4:20 PM

Where there's a Will, there's a Way: Young People and Climate Change

UC 326

Climate change is the defining issue of our time. It will disproportionately impact young people, less developed and impoverished nations, global agricultural systems, and vulnerable ecosystems across the globe. Current and future generations of students must be educated and empowered to tackle the problem. My research looks at the experience of students learning about climate change in an introductory climate change class, CCS 103X, at the University of Montana. I evaluate data from survey questionnaires taken at the beginning and the end of the class, and comments made during and after each class, to evaluate the relationship between the attitudes about climate change given by lecturers to agency and pathway thoughts in students, as well as students’ overall emotional response to global warming. I draw from Dr. Charles R. Snyder’s Hope Theory to understand how certain thoughts may help students to achieve their objectives and develop a stronger sense of agency. I also look to multiple studies from Maria Ojala, an associate professor at Ӧrebro University, to understand the influence of hope on young people, and how this affects their willingness to not only learn about environmental issues, but to engage in solutions. Understanding the complex role that emotions play in youth development is vital to effectively teach climate change in the classroom. This project is compelling because it looks at the ways that professors speak about climate change and relates it back to students’ own feelings about their abilities to enact change and the different ways they calculate and reach their goals. Now more than ever, it is crucial that educators use their positions of authority to empower and engage their students on a transformational level that encourages them to go outside of the class and find solutions to the problems in their own communities.