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A didactic toolkit for climate change educators: lessons from constructive journalism for emotionally sensitive and democratic content design

  • Höhle, Juliane
  • Bengtsson, Stefan L.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2023
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Climate change education is seen as an important contributor to climate change mitigation. Yet, its predominant focus on cognitive learning tends to omit the emotional effects of learning about climate change, which often entails learners feeling anxious and overwhelmed and therefore struggling to engage with and enact ‘solutions’. This paper addresses a gap in current environmental education research relating to the role that the design of educational content might play in engaging with the emotional dimension of learning in environmental and sustainability education. In this effort, the paper draws on constructive journalism to provide an account of how the design of content influences the appropriation of content on both a cognitive and emotional level by the learner. The paper outlines three content design tools (solutions orientation, future orientation, community orientation) that aim to reconcile the emotional and cognitive dimensions of learning while supporting the agency of learners and a democratic conception of climate change education.

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