Presentation on theme: "Teaching uncertainty: the case of climate change Centre for Active Learning, University of Gloucestershire, UK Brendan M. Hall ?"— Presentation transcript:
Teaching uncertainty: the case of climate change Centre for Active Learning, University of Gloucestershire, UK Brendan M. Hall ?
Uncertainty and Climate Change Climate change as a subject area is fraught with uncertainty Uncertainties due to the complexity of the climate system Uncertainties in climate modelling Uncertainties in palaeoenvironmental reconstructions, proxies, dates… Uncertainties due to social factors and responses to climate change An understanding of uncertainty would, therefore, appear to be important for an understanding of climate change Brendan M. Hall, CeAL, UoG Teaching uncertainty: the case of climate change
Conceptions of Uncertainty Scientific conceptions Qualitative conceptions Pragmatic conceptions Brendan M. Hall, CeAL, UoG Teaching uncertainty: the case of climate change They [students] ask, well is science agreed that climate change is human induced or not? And you have to say well the evidence is pointing that way, more and more…but dont forget evolution is still a theory that hasnt been proved to everyones satisfaction and that has been going round for over 100 years so. Im very keen for them [students] to understand how scenarios work…so I use the IPCC scenarios and we spend several lectures on understanding how those scenarios are derived, what theyre based on and that theyre not actually based on climate science, theyre based on assumptions about how the world is going to be with population and economic development It [uncertainty] is such a fundamental in everything, particularly in this area of climate change, but its ubiquitous, so coming to grips with uncertainty and how you deal with it, how you convey it, describe it, work with it, and how you move on despite it and make decisions despite uncertainty I think is a really key thing for me.
Theoretical Frameworks Uncertainty as troublesome knowledge (Perkins 1999; Meyer and Land 2003) Uncertainty as a threshold concept (Meyer and Land 2003, 2005) Brendan M. Hall, CeAL, UoG Teaching uncertainty: the case of climate change They [students] struggle with …trying to get a handle on uncertainties and things…the idea of randomness and chaos…which is quite difficult to explain. Uncertainty is another absolutely critical concept…to me this is one of the key things because I find that most students are uncomfortable with uncertainty, particularly at the lower levels
Emergent Themes Conceptions of uncertainty closely linked to research and teaching interests Some academics hold multiple conceptions simultaneously Uncertainty does represent troublesome knowledge Uncertainty may be an example of a threshold concept in this context Strategies – active, student-centred (?) Brendan M. Hall, CeAL, UoG Teaching uncertainty: the case of climate change