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Know your Audience - So who's your audience  

Our first speaker made a key point that to effectively connect with our audience, we need to first know who they are. So who is your primary audience? What types of students do you have, and which of the Six Americas do they fall into?

And given your particular audience, what approach has worked for you?

Alternatively, what questions might you have about connecting with a specific audience? This is a great place to ask for advice.

Lastly - any other questions you have following Tony's talk can go here. Let's keep up this interesting dialog!


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My primary audience are middle school science teachers. As such, they are all college graduates, yet many did not major in a science field and have not had science content since high school. My audience falls predominantly in the Concerned and Cautious categories, with some Alarmed and Doubtful. The approach that works best for this group is reviewing science content through hands-on experiments and activities, coupled with content delivered through scaffolded inquiry. Museum exploration and a connection to local issues makes the learning more relevant and personal, too, which helps tremendously.
Personally, I have a difficult time connecting to that part of the alarmed audience that holds misconceptions. Correcting the misconceptions of someone that arrives at the correct conclusion in erroneous ways is much more difficult that correcting the misconceptions of those who don't.


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This post is about communicating with teachers and principals who are hesitant to teach climate science because it is "controversial and polarized".

I am interested in secondary school audiences and state-level legislation. See the Science article " Climate Change Sparks Battles in Classroom" for more:

The supporters of this legislation use "Teach the Controversy" frames and deny scientific consensus on global climate change to dissuade teachers and principles from teaching climate science (or environmental science in general). It is truly an example of manufactured controversy.

I work with science teachers who seem to shy from using debate in the science classroom (maybe residual from the evolution/creationism "controversy"). As a former debate coach and communication prof, this saddens me. I believe it could help students improve scientific evidence analysis skills, encourage communication ethics/civics, foster critical thinking, and almost "protect the teacher" by allowing the students to defend their own positions or "role-play".

I understand that we need to promote the consensus argument (and I am excited to refine my "debunking skills" in the workshop). Speaking broadly however, we need to re-frame the "climate debate", not eliminate "debate frames".

I have come to understand that there are lots of "good debates" in climate science. . . how research should inform policy decisions and solutions, whether sea level will rise a few feet and many feet over the coming century, to what extent human caused climate change is responsible for extreme weather events, how robust climate models are for projecting precipitation are varying spatial scales in future decades. Other "debates" include whether IPCC projections and models are too conservative since some observations, such as loss of Arctic sea ice, are occurring more quickly than models projected.

Towards the goal of teacher education, we need to address the complexity of climate science. But also. . .

How can we counter the "teach the controversy" frames, in relation to the "lack of consensus" frames?


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My audience includes teachers, students, and sometimes even the community at large. In communicating science, it's important to put content in terms of what is meaningful to them. Also being able to engage folks (hands-on, etc...) with the content gives them a sense of ownership over their own learning.


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