Educators’ Catalog

The Educators’ Catalog extends News Decoder’s tradition of merging education and journalism by featuring a curated selection of articles that can be used as teaching tools in the classroom. 

The monthly catalog showcases four recent articles that challenge easy assumptions, deepen global understanding and spur critical thinking. The articles are written by our correspondents — who have deep experience covering complex stories with tact, clarity and insight — and by students in our network. Each pick is accompanied by a brief Editor’s note explaining the selection. Each article ends with questions that test a student’s understanding of the issues and stimulate further classroom discussion and research. 

Why don’t more U.S. schools teach about climate change?

Why don’t more U.S. schools teach about climate change?

Climate deniers have lost the political high ground in the United States, but the struggle to combat global warming has only just begun. Lucy Jaffee of La Jolla Country Day School explores why teaching about climate change can help reduce carbon emissions, but also why U.S. schools are having such a hard time fostering climate literacy. She interviewed a local expert and two teachers in her examination of the challenges schools face in meeting the expectations of parents who want climate change in the curriculum. Ask your students to explore how climate change is being taught in their school, and if not, why not?

Most Americans want schools to teach about global warming. But skeptics and lack of training make it hard to implement climate change education.

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Russians want change, even without embracing dissident Navalny

Russians want change, even without embracing dissident Navalny

Harried journalists often depict complex situations in black and white, and the temptation is especially strong when one is on a bandwagon with reporters convinced of a single narrative. Alexei Navalny has captured the imagination of the West and for many embodies the future of democracy in Russia as an alter-ego to Vladimir Putin. Sarah Lindemann-Komarova has lived in Siberia for 28 years and brings a more nuanced perspective to the story. Little wonder that her article, which notes the skepticism with which many Russians view the Kremlin critic, quickly attracted comments from readers following Navalny’s saga. Ask your students who their political heroes are and why. And who does not like them — and why.

Russians are keen for change but are not necessarily pinning their hopes on dissident Alexei Navalny as an alternative to Vladimir Putin.

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Poor nations lag in COVID vaccination, posing global peril

Poor nations lag in COVID vaccination, posing global peril

As nations struggle with the terrible health and economic consequences of COVID-19, the rush is on to roll out vaccines to as many people as possible. Leaders of developed economies might be excused for protecting their citizens above all — if it didn’t mean leaving out masses of people in the Global South. Jeremy Solomons taps official data and experts to spell out the dangers for both poor and rich nations alike if steps are not taken to ensure vaccines reach the four corners of the world. Ask students how they would ensure the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines — and whether they would be willing to help pay for it.

COVID-19 vaccination programs are moving slowly in poor nations, threatening the world’s health and raising risks for rich countries’ economies.

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In polarized times, we need to listen even to hateful views

In polarized times, we need to listen even to hateful views

It’s a common lament that we live in polarized times. Echo chambers, confirmation bias, troll factories — these are terms we’re all too familiar with now because they identify a problem that is besetting politics and democracy. Vicki Flier Hudson tackles the issue head-on, but unlike so many writers, she takes off the ideological blinders to offer a lesson in empathy — replete with mention of her rock band. She offers techniques at the end of her article that all of us can use. Teachers can ask students to identify an abhorrent point of view and explain why someone could possibly hold that perspective.

Playing in a rock band helped me see that in these polarized times, we need to listen to hateful views to heal divisions and save democracy.

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About the Editor

Nelson Graves is the founder and president of News Decoder and an experienced educator and administrator. Graves was a correspondent, bureau chief and regional managing editor at Reuters for 24 years, holding posts in Washington, Paris, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Milan and Tokyo. He later served as admissions director at Johns Hopkins University’s graduate program in international relations.

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Educators’ Catalog