The transformation of the modern state into the Green New Deal is not possible without an appropriate educational policy and a profound transformation of culture and the humanities. Especially the humanities and culture have an important role to play in the area of sustainable development, although still not very noticeable in relation to the primacy of science and natural sciences.
In the spirit of the Green New Deal, Magdalena Ochwat,PhD, and Anna Guzy, PhD, from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Research on Humanistic Education at the University of Silesia in Katowice verified how Polish language teachers introduce the issues of the climate catastrophe in Polish language lessons. The research was described in the report entitled Polonists in the face of climate change (download the report), which was created as part of the Visegrad Fund project entitled The V4 Humanities Education for the Climate. Diagnoses – Best Practices – Recommendations implemented by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Research on Humanistic Education together with foreign partners. The report was prepared in cooperation with EUROPE DIRECT – Silesia.
In this research, the humanistic perspective is important, including the Polish language, which is implemented in the school education process on the basis of the largest number of hours. This subject has the appropriate tools to change attitudes and values among young people – texts of culture, literature, film, photography, sculpture – and appropriate methodologies that are created by the “new humanities”, and within it, “environmental humanities” or “engaged humanities”. Research has shown that Polish language teachers are well aware of this – as many as 93.33% of respondents believe that reading literature and other cultural texts may be one of the ways of shaping responsible pro-ecological attitudes among students. According to 71.67% of the surveyed teachers, education related to the climate crisis in schools is not sufficient. Only 20% of respondents noticed that the textbook used in the classroom includes topics related to education for the climate. Over 50% of respondents admitted that they did not have enough time to pursue topics related to education for the climate in Polish language lessons. On the other hand, according to 90% of the respondents, Polish language teachers (next to science teachers) should also feel responsible for shaping pro-ecological attitudes in students.
Teachers point out that the most important activity of academic centres, which could support the activities of Polish language teachers in the field of education for the climate, is the introduction of lessons in this field to the didactic schedule. In turn, the Ministry of Education and Science should include in the core curriculum of the Polish language content related to education for the climate, enter texts dealing with environmental issues on the reading list and recommend correlation between the subjects in the core curriculum.
In the survey, Polish language teachers also suggested ideas for eco-reading – for example, to read Homeless People as a criticism of the plundering economy and to introduce into the discussion on the just transformation and production of clothes in today’s factories, while The Coming Spring – the myth about glass houses – to be treated as a place for moving topics of passive construction.