Cognitive and emotional evaluation of an amphibian conservation program for elementary school students
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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ABSTRACT: There are many factors that influence the formation of attitudes, one of the most crucial ones being education. Positive attitudes toward animals can be effectively accomplished principally by enabling students to directly experience organisms and their environments. The following study presents the development of a Toad Attitude Questionnaire (TAQ). Results were gathered from a sample of 195 primary school students (grades 6–9, ages 11– 14). Results show, that students who reported direct experience with animals were more willing to study animals and generally exhibited a more positive attitude toward them. Implications of the study are discussed.
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ABSTRACT: The ability of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos (NMPZ) in Greece to protect an important sea turtle rookery will ultimately depend on the level of local support and involvement that it receives. Therefore, it is essential for environmental educators to generate among local inhabitants, starting at early ages, positive attitudes concerning the NMPZ. The authors designed a conservation educational module, with 15 activities, to affect knowledge and attitudes of elementary school students. The authors used a quasi-experimental design for summative evaluation with a pretest—posttest control and experimental group to measure the effects on 4 dependent variables: (a) knowledge, (b) understanding and concern, (c) locus of control, and (d) verbal commitment. The survey instrument comprised 32 items that the authors divided into 4 subscales that measured the dependent variables. In total, 332 elementary school students—162 girls and 170 boys, 11-13 years of age—from 21 classes and 15 schools participated. The results indicated a significant effect on knowledge (low pretest scores), but not on attitudes (high pretest scores). However, posttest correlations in the experimental group indicated that as knowledge level increased, students' (a) locus of control and (b) understanding and concern for the sea turtle issue became more defensible. The study thus provides a model for environmental educators to design conservation education modules to foster positive attitudes in managing endangered species in protected areas.The Journal of Environmental Education. 01/2008; 39(3):47-61.
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ABSTRACT: We conducted a systematic literature review of peer-reviewed research studies published between 1999 and 2010 that empirically evaluated the outcomes of environmental education (EE) programs for youth (ages 18 and younger) in an attempt to address the following objectives: (1) to seek reported empirical evidence for what works (or does not) in EE programming and (2) to uncover lessons regarding promising approaches for future EE initiatives and their evaluation. While the review generally supports consensus-based best practices, such as those published in the North American Association for Environmental Education’s Guidelines for Excellence, we also identified additional themes that may drive positive outcomes, including the provision of holistic experiences and the characteristics and delivery styles of environmental educators. Overall, the evidence in support of these themes contained in the 66 articles reviewed is mostly circumstantial. Few studies attempted to empirically isolate the characteristics of programs responsible for measured outcomes. We discuss general trends in research design and the associated implications for future research and EE programming.Environmental Education Research 09/2013; · 0.85 Impact Factor