Teaching climate change in mathematics classrooms: An ethical responsibility
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionAbtahi, Y., Gøtze, P., Steffensen, L., Hiis, K., & Barwell, R. (2017). Teaching climate change in mathematics classrooms: An ethical responsibility. Philosophy of Mathematics Education Journal, 32.
Climate change is one of the most urgent human concerns. Mathematics, in various degrees of complexity, is used to communicate climate change to scientists, politicians, policy makers, the general public and children. Drawing on ideas from critical citizenship and critical mathematics education, we ask how incorporating issues of climate change into the teaching and learning of mathematics can be understood as a moral and ethical act? We consider the possible ethical and moral role of mathematics education at large, as well as the role and challenges of individual teachers who consider addressing climate change in mathematics classrooms. We illustrate our discussion with analysis of Canadian and Norwegian mathematics teachers’ explanations of their thinking about climate change in their teaching. We conclude that although including climate change in mathematics classrooms can be (and is) viewed as an ethical responsibility of mathematics teachers, in their day-to-day practice their decisions about this issue are complex.