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Students to present research on classroom approaches to climate change

The EDUCATE on Climate Symposium will be held Dec. 7 in Dunlap Hall on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

About 40 students from the social foundations of education classes taught by Dr. Kelly Henderson at the University of North Georgia (UNG) have researched ways to teach about the issues surrounding climate change. Now they have a chance to share the fruits of those labors with UNG students, faculty and staff, as well as the community.

The EDUCATE on Climate Symposium is set for 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 7 in the second-floor Dunlap Hall atrium on UNG's Dahlonega Campus. A mix of individual presentations, group papers, panels, and academic posters are part of the showcase for final projects from Henderson's students. EDUCATE stands for Education Degree Undergraduate Conference and Teaching Event.

While climate change can be a divisive topic, Henderson hopes the symposium will encourage discussion from all sides.

In her classes, she has seen disagreements as opportunities for constructive dialogue. To prepare the next wave of teachers, she knew she could not ignore climate change because it is discussed so prevalently in society.

"I'm interested in getting as many ideas at the table as possible," said Henderson, assistant professor in UNG's Department of Culture, Language & Leadership within the College of Education. "We don't have to agree. We just need to be at the table together."

Among the topics presented are the effects of climate change on education, theories about climate change, social class structure, and political climate.

John William Hovell, a sophomore from Watkinsville, Georgia, pursuing a degree in middle grades education, will make a presentation about ageism and how it can cause both teachers and students to make assumptions. He sees the symposium as a valuable opportunity.

"This is a good chance to present this information to other people who might be interested," Hovell said.

Henderson said the unpredictable future of climate change requires humility from all sides.

"We are moving into a time where we frankly don't know what's going to happen. Many of us have different views about what's happening with the climate or why it's happening," Henderson said. "All those views are valuable. It's important to hear all these different ideas."

Luke Kough, a junior from Blairsville, Georgia, pursuing a degree in mathematics with teacher certification, will present on critical thinking in relation to climate change.

"It will be a good way to present information about a very controversial and important topic," Kough said. "The symposium is important because it shows that the school supports and encourages freedom of speech."

Laura Beth Garrett, a sophomore from Dalton, Georgia, pursuing a degree in elementary and special education, will present on the lack of minority teachers. She is grateful for the forum the symposium provides.

"I like showing off what we have done. We have worked hard," Garrett said. "It's nice to be able to do something more than just turn it in."

Henderson expects those who attend the symposium to enjoy learning from UNG students.

"They're brilliant, and it's been fun to work with them," Henderson said. "I would like anyone to come and hear what they have to say."

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