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High school teachers attend seminar on climate change
By Gena Gibbs, BIS
Feb 28, 2012 - 12:08:50 PM

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On February 23, the Ministry of Education organised for 75 social science teachers to meet in the library of the Government High School where they attended a seminar on how to teach climate change to their students. (BIS Photo / Gena Gibbs).

Nassau, The Bahamas – Seventy-five Bahamian high school teachers attended a climate change seminar to learn how to prepare their students to understand the natural changes happening in the environment. The Ministry of Education hosted the 2012 workshop for teachers, as part of their professional development strategy to expand the studies of social sciences and spread the word about the importance of conservation in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

“We want to develop clear and consistent messages about climate change from the education level to the policy level. There are three kinds of articles in the media about climate change," said Lisa Benjamin, chairwoman for the Public Education and Outreach (PEO) Sub-Committee, under the National Climate Change Committee.

"One is alarmist and the other is overly optimistic. None of those approaches really enhance engagement,” she said.

Shelly Cant of the Bahamas National Trust shows teachers a presentation on climate change, after which she tested how much knowledge they absorbed by directing the participation in a Jeopardy-style game (BIS Photo / Gena Gibbs).

Miss Benjamin said the approach in the past has been pragmatic/optimist to engage people to help in adapting to climate change. "We have to be sensitive when we are conveying something negative to young people.”

On February 23rd, the Bahamas National Trust and the College of the Bahamas collaborated efforts in the library of the Government High School, The BNT also distributed a locally produced comic book on the subject called “Who tief muh conch?” which was developed by the PEO sub-committee.

Ms. Benjamin explained that the workshops cover three years of information sharing. They are targeted to benefit educators, journalists, and policymakers to help citizens make an effortless transition to adapting to climate change.

Lisa Benjamin, the Chairwoman for the Public Education and Outreach (PEO) Sub-Committee, speaks to teachers about the comic book designed under the National Climate Change Committee. (BIS Photo / Gena Gibbs).

“One of the primary obligations of the National Climate Change Committee is to submit a report that The Bahamas sends to the UN to tell them how we are being affected by climate change and what we are trying to do,” said Ms. Benjamin.

“The focus of our first year was on education. So, we reviewed the National Curriculum to look at climate change content. We asked what we could do to help to further climate change in the curriculum. They told us they wanted us to provide educational materials and tailored workshops for educators on topics for the workshops.”

After introducing the subcommittee, Ms. Benjamin reviewed the contents of the comic book on climate change to point out the parts that teachers should bring to their students attention. It has Bahamian dialect, it’s situated in The Bahamas, and concentrates on local issues.

“The message that we want to send out is that clearly climate change is happening and you can teach climate change, as part of on going environmental education on conservation”, said Ms. Benjamin.

“There is an existing comic book out there by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and it’s focused on the international affects of climate change. They actually encourage you to take that comic book and create a nationally appropriate one. And that's what we did.”

BNT’s Shelly Cant made a presentation on what climate change is and what Bahamians can do to mitigate its negative effects and adapt to the natural changes in the environment.


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