Fighting Apathy

Tuesday 28 May 2013

I was running on Saturday. At any rate, it looked something like running. And it was midday, and therefore hot, and so my slow pace had slowed. I don't really care about the running; it was an opportunity to listen to the most recent podcast of This American Life - this week about climate change - and become engrossed in the programme.

Later, after my run, I began to think back to the programme and to my cohort of 30 TOK students, all preparing for presentations in a few short weeks. I reflected that none of the students plan a presentation on the climate change 'debate'. Why, I wondered, do none of the students plan to present on one of the most pressing issues of our time? So, I asked them. Some responses were well-considered; 'it's been done before, and I want to do something more original'. But many of the students suggested, one way or another, that climate change is 'just something they live with'.

This worries me; if young people don't really care, what hope is there? Next year, my TOK course, will teach knowledge issues through the prism of climate change, and I will prosyletize through the back door.

Now, the relationship between ecological destruction (including climate change and the impact of global warming) and language death is well known. And, if students, apparently can't get too bothered by climate change, it seems unlikely that they will get hot under the collar if the odd Amazonian language falls by the wayside.

The website now offers a series of texts to go. The first texts in the series coalesce around the issue of endangered languages and language death. It seems like something worth teaching.



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