Climate change science: The literacy of Geography teachers in the Western Cape Province, South Africa
One of the universal responses to tackling global climate change is teaching climate change concepts at all levels of formal education. This response requires, among other things, teachers who are fully literate about climate change science, so that they can explain the concepts underlying the causes, impacts and solutions of climate change as accurately as possible to learners. The main intention of this study was to understand high school Geography teachers’ levels of knowledge about climate change science. A 15-item, criterion-referenced, multiple-choice Climate Change Literacy Questionnaire with a reliability coefficient of 0.74 using the Guttman’s spit-half test was administered to 194 high school Geography teachers in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Data collected were analysed with the Pearson’s Chi-square test and One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). The results showed that the majority of the participants demonstrated significantly high literacy levels in climate science, with their literacy levels higher in climate processes and causes of climate change than climate change impacts and solutions. Misconceptions were found in all three categories of climate change science as represented in the survey instrument. These findings suggest that teacher educators and policymakers should improve professional development programmes and support interventions in teacher knowledge and understanding of climate change concepts, so as to enhance climate change education in schools.
Keywords: climate change education; climate change misconceptions; climate change science literacy; Geography teachers; survey research