Sunday, 13 September 2015


Here is a sample of the work given by Oxfam to school children in the UK. It is strewn with basic errors (described as "simplification") which make it, in effect, propaganda which should have no place in schools. If this sort of stuff is being taught in schools at any level, then it breaches the guidelines of political impartiality and needs to be investigated. No where could I see any balance, such as giving students the beneficial effects of putting some extra CO2 in the atmosphere. There was no mention of the pause in warming for the past 18 years.

Update - The most basic error in their literature is to show children a glass jar and claim that this acts like CO2 gas by "trapping heat" as in the so-called "greenhouse effect". This is completely wrong as the mechanism by which the jar traps heat is by preventing convection from dispersing the warm air. This is deliberately not taught, and so it is a false idea implanted in the children's mind. Only the brightest child is likely to spot this - though if he did then the teacher would have to admit the analogy is false, undermining the point of the experiment in the context of atmospheric warming. As far as science teaching is concerned, this subject is far too difficult for children aged 7 to 11 to understand and were it not for the political aspect Oxfam would not be interested in pushing it into schools at all. We might as well try to teach them nuclear fission.

Look at Activity 1.3 and in particular the diagram with all the "ideas" posted on it. Not one item is "off message" suggesting complete agreement among all the students who are obviously simply parroting back what they have been told. I wonder what would happen if a child put something "off message" on to the chart? It's time for the child to tell the emperor that he has no clothes.

No comments: