Cognitive and Emotional Evaluation of an Amphibian Conservation Program for Elementary School Students

The Journal of Environmental Education (Impact Factor: 0.65). 10/2005; 37(1). DOI: 10.3200/JOEE.37.1.43-52

ABSTRACT The authors describe a study aimed at enhancing knowledge about amphibian species. Two classes of 3rd and 4th graders aged 9-11 years participated in the study. In addition, approximately one half of the students participated in an environmental conservation action designated to preserve migrating amphibians. During this action, students encountered living amphibians. Students who participated in the conservation action performed significantly better on achievement tests, and 4th graders performed better than 3rd graders, even when controlling for prior knowledge as a covariate, which also showed a significant influence. Pupils expressed high interest and well-being and low anger, anxiety, and boredom. Boredom and anxiety correlated negatively with residualized achievement scores. Major implications are that learning about biodiversity should (a) focus on a small number of species, (b) start in primary schools, (c) take place outdoors, and (d) be linked with classroom teaching.

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    • "However, the NSTA also calls for more research in this area in order to objectively determine the effectiveness of real animal dissections. Recent research focused on the importance of emotions on learners' outcomes (Pekrun et al. 2002, Randler et al. 2005) revealed that students who felt disgust of dissection considered themselves as less effective at mastering the dissection (Holstermann et al. 2009, 2012), but students with more experience in dissections reported lower pressure (Randler et al. 2012a) and greater interest toward dissection (Holstermann et al., 2010). Females have obviously less supportive attitudes than males (Lock 1995, Akpan & Andre 1999, Holstermann et al. 2012, Quince et al. 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Animal dissections are essential parts of anatomy/zoology courses, but their effectiveness is influenced by student attitudes and emotions. Here we examined attitudes toward dissections in 397 prospective biology teachers enrolling two Slovak universities. Perceived disgust of dissections negatively correlated with other attitudes toward dissections domains and previous experiences with dissections correlated positively with attitudes toward dissections. Reported experiences with real and virtual dissections in Slovak elementary and high schools were rare. Students who owned animal(s) at home had less positive attitudes toward dissections than non-animal owners. Our research support an idea that prior experiences with dissections and low perceived disgust correlate with positive attitudes toward dissections. Special attention should be dedicated to females and to animal owners, because positive attitudes toward animals may be in conflict with supportive attitudes towards dissections.
    Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education 08/2013; 9(3):101 – 114. DOI:10.12973/eurasia.2013.938a
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    • "However, some studies found no gender differences in interest and attitude towards biology. In particular, girls and boys from 3 rd and 4 th grade did not differ in their interest concerning amphibians (Randler et al., 2005). Also, Baram-Tsabari and Yarden (2005) reported no gender differences in self-generated questions relating to 'Human biology', 'Zoology', and 'Botany' in a large sample from Israel. "
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    ABSTRACT: A decline in biology interest has often been claimed but seldom with an empirically substantiation. This study was based on a sample of 3 rd and 4 th grade pupils within the same geographical area as Löwe's (1987, 1992) previous results from southwest Germany from the year 1983. We used a four-point Likert-type questionnaire to assess interest with 30 items (zoology, botany, human biology). Here we show for the first time, that elementary school pupils have lower interest in biology than one generation before. This decline between 1983 and 2011 was about 10%, with only 3% in zoology and 12% in botany. As interest is an important variable, programs should be developed to foster pupils' interest already on the primary school level.
    Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education 08/2012; 8(3):201-205. DOI:10.12973/eurasia.2012.835a
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    • "In some studies attitudes were recorded in addition to cognitive achievement. Some authors reported higher values in emotional variables and in attitudes towards animals in a living animal treatment (Baur 1985; Sherwood et al. 1989; Bauhardt 1990; Wilde and Bätz 2009; Tomažič 2008), but others did not (Randler et al. 2005). Tamir and Shcurr (1997) found positive attitudes towards animals after a course dealing with living animals in a retrospective pre-/post-design without control group. "
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    ABSTRACT: Prior research states that the use of living animals in the classroom leads to a higher knowledge but those previous studies have methodological and statistical problems. We applied a meta-analysis and developed a treatment–control study in a middle school classroom. The treatments (film vs. living animal) differed only by the presence of the living animal. Both treatments were based on the self-determination theory. More than 400 pupils filled in pre-test, post-test and two follow-up-tests (with a delay of 6–8weeks and 7–8months). After each lesson, pupils rated the lesson on a short intrinsic motivation scale. In the meta-analysis, we found that the living animal treatments significantly scored better than a control group, but not when comparing living animals with alternative treatments. In the treatment–control study, both treatments led to a significant increase in knowledge but there were no differences between film and living animal treatment. Pre-test and previous grading had a significant influence on post- and both follow-up tests. In the mouse lesson, pupils of the living animal group showed higher values in interest and competence and lower values in pressure. Interest and competence correlated positively with achievement, while pressure correlated negatively. KeywordsIntrinsic motivation–Knowledge–Learning–Living animal–Meta-analysis–Treatment–control study
    Journal of Science Education and Technology 02/2012; 21(1):95-105. DOI:10.1007/s10956-011-9285-4 · 1.21 Impact Factor
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