Making climate change adaptation messaging more accessible

In 2021-2022, Dr Sien van der Plank is leading an Economic and Social Research Council-funded South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership project that is researching the motivations and actions of householders to adapt to coastal flood risk. Action on and adaptation to climate change and adaptation are important across all communities, but research shows that the language used in the advice can be a challenge for people who are learning English as a second language.

As part of the Festival of Social Sciences 2021, Sien also collaborated with a local charity to support ensuring people with English as a second language are to be better aware of the available measures required to adapt to climate change. Working with Engineering PhD student José Alejandro Pinto Rascon and the charity City Life Education and Action for Refugees (CLEAR), she has developed a series of lesson plans and materials aimed at these groups of people.

The English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) lesson plans focus on climate change, flooding and heatwaves by introducing vocabulary around these areas, as well as identifying outlets for further information on the current and future risks.  The lesson plans were successfully been delivered to groups of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Southampton in November 2021.

The lesson materials contain multiple worksheets for completion during and after class.
Learners explore the geography of hazards by comparing their spatial distribution around the world.
Learners use a worksheet to identify the terminology for a wide range of hazards.

The lessons materials include a lesson plan, presentation, worksheets and homework sheets, and stickers and poster templates. 

To receive the materials, please email Dr Sien van der Plank:




The above text is adapted from Louise Payne’s text for the April 2022 edition of the University of Southampton RE: action magazine. This work was made possible by ESRC Grant No: ES/W006189/1 and the University of Southampton ESRC Festival of Social Sciences 2021.