How Do Experts and Novices Think About Climate Change? Thinking Routines as Learning and Assessment Tools
CitationChua, Flossie. 2016. How Do Experts and Novices Think About Climate Change? Thinking Routines as Learning and Assessment Tools. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractDevelopments in the last century – the global economy, unprecedented migration patterns, and the digital revolution – have forced a challenging shift in the way we think about what matters most to learn. As traditional systems of learning are substantially challenged and reshaped, consensus is building around the importance of educating for global competence. While much investment has gone into creating frameworks, curricular materials and activities for educating young people for global competence, there are few, if any, assessment tools for assessing students’ global competence that are viable for everyday classroom use.
My qualitative study addressed this gap by testing the extent to which thinking routines – micro-interventions that focus attention on specific thinking moves that build global competence – might function as a viable instrument for supporting young people in developing more expert patterns of thinking when engaging with complex issues like climate change. Using a structured protocol with a group of 6 experts and 6 novices, I explored their patterns of thinking as they engaged with a scenario on climate change using two thinking routines.
My study revealed that the experts differed from the novices in three principal ways: (1) the experts characteristically viewed climatic events and phenomena through geological time scales, which has important implications for supporting students to understand the shifting baselines for measuring change that tend to be at the heart of controversial and often bitterly contentious issues; (2) the experts reasoned from their identity and worldview as scientists with a moral responsibility to not only provide scientifically accurate information to the public, but also to do so in a responsible way; and (3) they recognized the provisional nature of knowledge, and engaged in cognitively effortful processing of information that relied less on heuristics and more on culturally specific knowledge. My study also found the thinking routines to be effective as a teaching tool: they extended the novices’ substantive attention to the issues, and scaffolded them towards more critical reasoning and complexity in their thinking. The thinking routines also worked well as assessment tools, revealing trends in the novices’ thinking that a general prompt did not.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:27112690