"Most people have an incomplete or inaccurate understanding of Global Warming and its related concepts."
Our Video Research Project confirmed our hypothesis that most have misunderstandings or partial knowledge about Global Warming.  Almost all the people interviewed gave inaccurate responses about Global Warming and its related concepts.

Most people interviewed said that they got their knowledge about Global Warming from the media. A few responded that they had received formal education on the subject at school. Possible reasons for misunderstanding include inaccurate reporting by news media, confusion over scientific terms (e.g. interchanging global warming with climate change).

Lack of teacher knowledge on these subjects can also lead to confirmation of these misconceptions. A study (Mintz, J., 2006) done about teacher training in the UK on the subject of global warming " indicated that a significant number of students do appear to have an unrealistic perception of their level of understanding. So, for example, some students who felt that they had a good understanding of the science involved in damage to the ozone layer thought that the burning of fossil fuels was a major contributory factor in this phenomenon. This is particularly worrying, when they teach in the classroom, will not even be aware of the fact that their subject knowledge in this area is poor."

Some teachers believe this may stem from the general feeling that environmental science is not important. This feeling could be defended by the fact that the National Science Standards do not include benchmarks which specifically address Global Warming.  The standards were last updated in 1994 which demonstrates the view that this is an unimportant topic.

Implications for teaching of Global Warming and its related concepts: 
In order for students to gain an accurate understanding, teachers are best advised to include the following:
  • climate change (cooling aswell as warming)
  • global warming as an intensified greenhouse effect
  • how human activity contributes to Global Warming
  • ozone depletion as a result of CFC's being released in to the atmosphere and lingering for a hundred years
  • what we can do to prevent or reverse Global Warming

We have included quality resources on the Resources page to help you as a teacher improve your own understanding so that you can help disspell any misconceptions or private theories your students may have.