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Deficit of nature as a manifestation of a hidden curriculum of the school. Poznan educational studies 2021


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Poznan educational studies 2021, conducted in order to improve Poznan city’s educational policy for the next ten years, covers several areas of students’ school experience. The study focuses on the area of ecology and one aspect of it: students’ contact with nature. The aim of the study was to find out whether Poznan students are exposed to nature deficit and thus at risk of developing nature deficit syndrome. 996 students from primary and secondary Poznan schools were surveyed online in the Poznan educational studies project. Five questions from the questionnaire were used in this study. Basic statistics and Chi-square tests were conducted in data analysis, using row data basis on the survey. The study proved the nature deficit syndrome in the analyzed group of students. Only 14% of them experienced lessons outside the school building during their school lives. This fact is interpreted in the paper in the context of Jackson’s concept of the hidden curriculum and Eisner’s concept of the null curriculum. It also referred to the concepts of deficit of nature disorder and the hypothesis of biophilia. Keywords: nature deficit disorder, nature-based learning, hidden curriculum, null curriculum, school space
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Scientific Council
Prof. zw. dr hab. Wiesław Ambrozik – Acting Chairman – Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań
Prof. Robert AgnewEmory University, Atlanta
Prof. dr hab. Andrzej Bałandynowicz – Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW
Prof. dr hab. Zbyszko Melosik Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
Prof. PhDr. Pavel Mühlpachr, Ph.D.Masaryk University, Brno
Prof. George Nelson – Brigham Young University, Provo
Prof. dr hab. Beata Pastwa-Wojciechowska University of Gdansk
Editorial Committee
Prof. dr hab. Marek Konopczyński Editor in Chief – University of Bialystok
Dr hab. Iwona Klonowska Associate Editor – Police Academy in Szczytno
Dr hab. Sławomir Przybyliński University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn
Dr hab. Maciej Muskała – Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
Dr Dorota SadowskaLanguage Editor University of Warsaw
Filip Bednarczyk – Editorial Manager – Pedagogium Foundation
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concerning the listing of scientific journals and the number of points awarded for being published in these
journals, the Polish Journal of Social Rehabilitation was declared a 70 point journal.
Editors declare that the on-line version is the original version of the Journal
© Copyright by Pedagogium FOUNDATION,
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e-ISSN: 2392-2656
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List of Contents
Social rehabilitation of minors, or a few words about the destruction of the
achievements of the social sciences by politicians .......................................... 7
The Thesis
Hanna Kubiak
Conduct disorders in children – from diagnosis to therapy ............................. 11
Daria Hejwosz-Gromkowska
Youth crime prevention and school civic education in England – selected issues 25
Barbara Jankowiak, Emilia Soroko
Incorporating a developmental psychopathology perspective in disorder
prevention and mental health promotion for children and adolescents ........... 41
Aneta Skuza
Czesław Czapów a man of action as the organizer of the opposition
discussion club Personalists (1950–1953) ....................................................... 57
Łukasz Albański, Mirosław Kowalski
Does AI Come to Schools? Some Concerns about Teaching in Times of the
COVID 19 Pandemic ...................................................................................... 73
Mariusz Dobijański, Arkadiusz Kamiński
Activities of the National Association of Rehabilitation Workers for the
rehabilitation of minors in Poland .................................................................. 83
Sławomir Przybyliński
The male world of everyday life in prison – subcultures behind the bars ....... 101
Ewa Włodarczyk
Crisis – faithful companion of women addicted to alcohol ............................. 113
Marta Kędzia
The rehabilitative function of music and the musical preferences of young
people ............................................................................................................ 129
Anna Ratajczak
Preventive dimension of sociotherapy in work with young people at risk of social
maladjustment ................................................................................................ 137
Łukasz Kwadrans, Sławomir Stasiorowski
The probation centre as a diagnostic centre, an institution for early support
and complex work with the client, family and local environment ................... 151
Iwona Chmura-Rutkowska, Marzena Buchnat, Izabela Cytlak
Sylwia Jaskulska, Bożena Kanclerz, Agnieszka Kozłowska
Mateusz Marciniak, Lucyna Myszka-Strychalska, Joanna Szafran
Renata Wawrzyniak-Beszterda
Who is treated the worst at school? Discrimination and peer violence in Polish
schools. Poznan educational research 2021 ................................................... 169
Research Reports
Justyna Kusztal, Maciej Muskała
Desistance from crime as a conceptual category of Polish social rehabilitation
pedagogy ....................................................................................................... 193
Hubert Kupiec, Monika Zięciak
Degree of demoralization and the social competence of juveniles staying in
Youth Educational Centers .............................................................................. 209
Agnieszka Tajak-Bobek
Perception of risk by offenders. Relevance to resocialization interventions ...... 227
Joanna Żeromska-Charlińska
Penitentiary Clinic as the project of effective academic education – learning
experiences through retrospective ................................................................... 247
Agnieszka Lewicka-Zelent, Ewa Trojanowska
The effectiveness of the author’s mediation program in terms of increasing the
readiness for restitution in convicted men ...................................................... 263
Elżbieta Gaweł-Luty, Jolanta Karbowniczek, Grzegorz Piekarski
Inclusive & exclusive context of seniors’ quality of life .................................... 277
Emilia Macałka, Katarzyna Tomaszek, Joanna Kossewska
School burnout as a mediator variable in the relationship between time
perspective and intensity of depression in adolescents .................................... 293
Marek Motyka
Treatment, resocialization and readaptation of women struggling with drug
addiction: barriers and challenges .................................................................. 313
Roman Solecki
An analysis of the relationship between the hardships of the SARS-CoV-2
pandemic, family functioning, depression and internet addiction among 11–16
year olds ........................................................................................................ 333
Robert Modrzyński, Anna Mańkowska, Agnieszka Pisarska
Risky Use Scale (RUS) – a screening method for the study of risky use of alcohol
and other psychoactive substances. Scale characteristics and psychometric
properties ....................................................................................................... 353
Łukasz Maciuła, Iwona Grzegorzewska, Beata Pastwa-Wojciechowska
Self-image in relationships with others in men and women addicted to
alcohol ........................................................................................................... 371
Andrzej Łuczyński, Malwina Socha
Inclusive education in the process of rehabilitation of Youth Educational
Centers’ wards ................................................................................................ 387
Izabela Cytlak, Joanna Szafran, Anna Cwojdzińska, Marzena Buchnat
Iwona Chmura-Rutkowska, Agnieszka Cybal-Michalska, Sylwia Jaskulska
Bożena Kanclerz, Agnieszka Kozłowska, Mateusz Marciniak
Lucyna Myszka-Strychalska, Renata Wawrzyniak-Beszterda
(Not) a good school? Image of the contemporary school in students’ opinions
directions of future changes. Poznań Educational Research 2021 ............... 409
Bożena Kanclerz, Lucyna Myszka-Strychalska, Marzena Buchnat
Iwona Chmura-Rutkowska, Agnieszka Cybal-Michlska, Izabela Cytlak
Sylwia Jaskulska, Agnieszka Kozłowska, Mateusz Marciniak
Joanna Szafran, Renata Wawrzyniak-Beszterda
Psychological and pedagogical help as well as educational and vocational
counseling in schools as necessary elements of universal prophylaxis. Research
examples and recommendations for the design of educational and preventive
activities. Poznan City Educational Research 2021 ......................................... 427
Agnieszka Kozłowska, Iwona Chmura-Rutkowska, Marzena Buchnat
Agnieszka Cybal-Michalska, Izabela Cytlak, Sylwia Jaskulska
Bożena Kanclerz, Mateusz Marciniak, Lucyna Myszka-Strychalska
Joanna Szafran, Renata Wawrzyniak-Beszterda
Deficit of nature as a manifestation of a hidden curriculum of the school.
Poznan educational studies 2021 ................................................................... 451
Mateusz Marciniak, Sylwia Jaskulska, Renata Wawrzyniak-Beszterda, Marzena
Buchnat, Iwona Chmura-Rutkowska, Agnieszka Cybal-Michalska, Izabela
Cytlak, Bożena Kanclerz, Agnieszka Kozłowska, Lucyna Myszka-Strychalska,
Joanna Szafran
The diagnosis of “weak points” of the school as an environment for
building resilience of male and female students. Poznan City Educational
Research 2021 ............................................................................................... 467
(pp. 451–465) 451
Agnieszka Kozłowska, Iwona Chmura-Rutkowska
Marzena Buchnat, Agnieszka Cybal-Michalska,
Izabela Cytlak, Sylwia Jaskulska, Bożena Kanclerz,
Mateusz Marciniak, Lucyna Myszka-Strychalska,
Joanna Szafran, Renata Wawrzyniak-Beszterda *
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
Deficit of nature as a manifestation
of a hidden curriculum of the school
Poznan educational studies 2021
Abstract: Poznan educational studies 2021, conducted in order to improve Poznan city’s
educational policy for the next ten years, covers several areas of students’ school experience.
The study focuses on the area of ecology and one aspect of it: students’ contact with nature.
The aim of the study was to find out whether Poznan students are exposed to nature deficit
and thus at risk of developing nature deficit syndrome.
* Agnieszka Kozłowska:, ORCID 0000-0002-7614-6095; Iwona Chmura-Rut-
kowska:; ORCID 0000-0002-9319-7767; Marzena Buchnat,, ORCID 0000-0002-7579-6715; Agnieszka Cybal-Michalska, agnieszka.cybal-, ORCID: 0000-0001-7470-1473; Izabela Cytlak:;
ORCID 0000-0002-6528-9680; Sylwia Jaskulsk:, ORCID 0000-0002-
3454-7894; Bożena Kanclerz:; ORCID 0000-0002-5496-2139; Mateusz Marciniak:, ORCID 0000-0002-7131-626X; Lucyna Myszka-Strychalska: lucyna.mysz-, ORCID 0000-0003-2973-1379; Joanna Szafran:,
ORCID 0000-0001-5646-7118; Wawrzyniak Renata-Beszterda:, ORCID 0000-0001-
Kozłowska, Chmura-Rutkowska, Buchnat, Cybal-Michalska, Cytlak, Jaskulska, Kanclerz,
Marciniak, Myszka-Strychalska, Szafran, Wawrzyniak-Beszterda
452 (pp. 451–465)
996 students from primary and secondar y Poznan schools were surveyed online in the
Poznan educational studies project. Five questions from the questionnaire were used in this
study. Basic statistics and Chi-square tests were conducted in data analysis, using row data
basis on the survey.
The study proved the nature deficit syndrome in the analyzed group of students. Only 14%
of them experienced lessons outside the school building during their school lives. This fact
is interpreted in the paper in the context of Jackson’s concept of the hidden curriculum and
Eisner’s concept of the null curriculum. It also referred to the concepts of deficit of nature
disorder and the hypothesis of biophilia.
Key words: nature deficit disorder, nature-based learning, hidden curriculum, null curric-
ulum, school space
Outdoor lessons for a long time were an attribute of the life & science part of
the school curriculum, usually as practical complementation of the theoretical
biological or geographical knowledge. Such education, using the outdoors as an
occasion to practice what was learned in the indoor lessons, is an attractive form
of learning about the subject the environment, the landscape but it does not
fully use the opportunities that come from moving out of the school walls. For
example, going off the script of teaching about the environment as an academic
subject may refer to what Richard Dobson calls teaching for the environment,
which involves action and civic engagement for changing particular places. Te-
aching about the environment in the environment and for the environment is
associated with developing citizenship competencies, students’ engagement in ac-
tion, and their participation in changing the world (Dobson, 2003).
The problem is that even such narrowly understood outdoor education as
complementation of biology or geography lessons conducted in the school building
is extremely seldom (Michalak et al., 2019). It seems that schoolchildren in
Poland spend most of their school life in the school buildings. Compulsory
education starts at 7 and lasts 11 years, up to 18. Every day students spend
5–7 hours at school. Except for the first three years of primary school, which is
the time of integrated education, school education is organized into 45–minute
lesson units run by different teachers of different subjects. Such organization is, by
definition, a barrier to outdoor lessons. But there may also be other ones: lack of
attractive places in the school surroundings, financial costs of trips, or uncertainty
about legal responsibility in case of an accident outside the school grounds. Some
teachers may also feel unprepared for teaching out of the classroom without
handbooks and notebooks. Staying with students inside the classroom seems safer,
easier, and more convenient (Michalak & Parczewska, 2019, pp. 138–141).
In the 21st century, going outside also seems challenging for children. After
returning from school to home, they seldom spend their spare time playing
Deficit of nature as a manifestation of a hidden curriculum of the school. Poznan…
(pp. 451–465) 453
outside. There are not many studies on this fact, as it was not perceived as
necessary in the context of the child’s development or mental condition. However,
a growing body of evidence shows that contact with nature is a basic human need
and as such, it should be adequately addressed in an educational system (Jordan
& Chawla, 2019; Louv, 2008).
Nature deficit disorder
In 2005, Richard Louv’s ground-breaking book resulted in changes to attitudes
towards nature, the environment, and environmental education. As he proved, in
education nature is much more than a storage of resources or a topic of teaching
and learning. In his book, he showed the process of the growing nature deficit in
children’s everyday experience during the last 20 years and how it may be asso-
ciated with attention deficit disorder (ADHD), stress, depression, and difficulties in
social relations. He recalled studies proving that children almost disappeared from
outdoor playgrounds in the 21st century. One reason for that phenomenon is that
they do not know how to play without computers and colorful plastic toys (Louv
called it a forgotten experience). In one of the recalled studies, 20% of British chil-
dren had not gone outside for a whole month before the survey: they had been
driven to school and back home by parents and at home, they had sat before the
TV, computer, or smartphone screen; the next 20% had gone out for less than 1
hour per day, which is the standard for prisoners (Louv, 2008).
One reason for children missing outdoor activities is adults being afraid that
something wrong might happen to their children. The danger may come from
other people as it is expressed in the concept of “stranger danger” (Carver et al.,
2008, or children may harm themselves when playing. The latter may involve the
parents or the caretakers of the place being held legally responsible. Afraid of being
sued as a result of a child’s accident while playing under their supervision, local
councils of house settlements in the USA simply introduce legal bans on playing on
the settlements’ grounds. Louv described this phenomenon as penalization of play.
The question is, is it important where children play, indoors or outdoors?
According to Louv, yes. He showed how important nature is for human
development and coined a term for the consequences of the limited contact with
nature: nature-deficit disorder (Louv, 2008, pp. 99–114).
Louv’s book was an inspiration for new trends in education: nature-based
education and place-based education: outdoor, in the natural environment,
targeted education not only about or in the environment, but also for it; not
about or in the local community, but also for it. Engagement in real problems
and real and needed actions helps children to reconnect with nature and the
local community, rebuild broken social relations, negotiate common goals, and
work to meet them. Such education increases creativity, enhances communication
Kozłowska, Chmura-Rutkowska, Buchnat, Cybal-Michalska, Cytlak, Jaskulska, Kanclerz,
Marciniak, Myszka-Strychalska, Szafran, Wawrzyniak-Beszterda
454 (pp. 451–465)
skills and citizenship competencies, and it makes children happier. It also helps
students in other fields of education, and strengthens their resilience to school
stressors and dangers (Chawla et al., , 2014; Flax et al,. 2020). This is why the
school greening movement developed and school gardens and green schoolyards
were built as an effect of the school project (Jansson and Martensson, 2012;
Stevensonet et al., 2020).
“Leave no child inside” became the new slogan in nature-oriented
education(Orion Magazine Leave No Child Inside, n.d.). It paraphrased “Leave
no child behind,” a slogan used in legislative acts on children’s rights and equal
opportunities in education (Comer, 2008), and showed that education outside
the school building is one of children’s rights. However “leave no child inside” is
not a part of legislation. Teachers and other actors of educational systems who
are engaged in promoting nature-based education started to organize and support
each other through networks and organizations (Children and Nature Network.
Helping Children Thrive Outside | C&NN, n.d.).
There are growing bodies of evidence on the restorative function of nature
and its positive influence on human development. The role of nature in human
health and development. It helps in rehabilitation of individuals with stress-
related mental disorders (Pálsdóttir et al., 2014) and improves attention which
is important in many areas of life. Even views on green landscapes from the
school windows can significantly improve performance on tests of attention
and increase students’ recovery from stressful experiences (Li & Sullivan, 2016).
Exposure to trees is related with better physical health and increased capacity to
control stress (Jiang et al., 2020). Roe and Aspinall (2011) proved that forest
school and outdoor education have better restorative outcomes in comparison
with conventional school. The effect was the strongest for students with poor
behavior (Roe et al., 2022; Roe & Aspinall, 2011). Similar results were presented
by Nedovic and Morrissey (2013), proving that outdoor classes make kindergarten
children more calm, active and focused.
The effects of outdoor education were observed also for kindergarten and
school children, who during indoor classes were perceived as underachievers, but
outdoors they behaved differently: they were more engaged, active, creative and
these facts diminished the effects of “underachievement” (Maynard et al., 2013).
Better students’ academic performance as a result of the “greenness” of school
surroundings was reported in several studies (Barrett et al., 2015; Williams et al.,
2018; Wu et al., 2014).
On the other side of the spectrum to the above positive effects of the contact
with nature is the nature deficit that brings many negative consequences: poorer
of health, higher level of stress and aggression, lower level of attention, and worse
performance at school. Reconnecting schoolchildren with nature is a way to build
their resilience, to live healthier, emotionally balanced, cognitively more effective
school lives (Chawla et al., 2014; Flax et al., 2020; Hauk et al., 2018).
Deficit of nature as a manifestation of a hidden curriculum of the school. Poznan…
(pp. 451–465) 455
In the Polish educational system, the national curriculum framework for
primary school and vocational education mentions field lessons 51 times. Most
of them refer to primary science, biology or geography (Podstawa programowa
Ministerstwo Edukacji i Nauki Portal, n.d.). However, as it was proven in
Michalak and Parczewska’s monograph (2019), this is not transposed into school
curriculum level and lesson plans sufficiently. Teachers, following the instruction
of the published curriculum, seldom come across exercises and content which
should be conducted outdoors (Michalak and Parczewska, p. 138). Barriers that
teachers experience in organizing outdoor education were also described by Dijk-
Wesselius et al., (2020).
Hidden curriculum
The term “hidden curriculum” was coined by Philip Jackson (Jackson, 1968), ho-
wever it is believed that the idea was originated by John Dewey. Jackson descri-
bed education as a process of socialization and explained the hidden curriculum
in this context: as what is learned but not openly intended, such as norms, values,
believes, rules, and distribution of power which are part of the school culture.
According to the Oxford Dictionary of Education, the hidden curriculum is “know-
ledge, skills, or attitudes which were not a part of the formal intended learning
outcomes” and which are acquired by students apart from their exposure to the
formal curriculum (Wallace, 2015, p. 69).
The concept of the hidden curriculum has been analyzed and elaborated by
many thinkers from the field of pedagogy (Freire 2017; Meighan 1993; Snyder,
1971; Gordon 1997). However, the term “hidden curriculum” was not always
used. Eliot Eisner, one of the leading curriculum theorists, who coined the term
“null curriculum” for the content which is not present in the curriculum, writes
in his ground-breaking book Educational Imagination about three curricula which
all schools teach: the explicit curriculum, implicit curriculum, and null curriculum.
The explicit curriculum is the one declared in official documents; implicit the
school culture, that indirectly teaches some rules, values and attitudes; and the
null curriculum absent content, methods, form of teaching, which also influence
future lives of students (Eisner, 1985, pp. 87–108). Eisner’s “implicit curriculum”
and Jackson’s hidden curriculum refer to the same concept. In this article, the
hidden curriculum will be described in relation to the experience of nature deficit
and the school space.
Kozłowska, Chmura-Rutkowska, Buchnat, Cybal-Michalska, Cytlak, Jaskulska, Kanclerz,
Marciniak, Myszka-Strychalska, Szafran, Wawrzyniak-Beszterda
456 (pp. 451–465)
Research problem
The paper presents a part of a study conducted for the project “Poznan Educatio-
nal Policy 2030,” coordinated by Poznan city’s educational department2. The pur-
pose of the Poznan study was to learn about the school experiences of students
in primary and secondary schools of Poznan in several areas of school activity,
in order to define to what extend these experiences are supportive for students’
development, as well as what factors make these experiences different. The prac-
tical goal of the research was to diagnose students’ problems and needs in the
school context.
The key areas of students’ school experiences that defined research problems
were: lessons; relations between students and teachers; educational lessons; peer
relationships; the offer of extracurricular activities; the conditions of learning
school infrastructure; discrimination – unequal treatment, worse treatment; safety;
friendliness; counselling; educational and occupational orientation; environmental
/climate change education. The goal of the Poznan study (To what extent Poznan
schools are the source and the context of experiences supporting students’
development?) has been detailed in the above-mentioned areas of students’ school
experiences. The areas created thematic sections in an online survey.
The dimensions of research areas that created variables of the research are
rooted in Bruner’s culture of education theory (Bruner, 2006). This is a concept of
school which supports students’ development through creating a safe educational
environment in which students have the opportunity to experience self-agency,
participation, partnership, equal treatment, concern, and reflectiveness. The study
was planned and executed in order to learn about everyday school life from
the perspective of students. It is why the questions in the survey were about
students’ personal experiences, opinions, and feelings in different areas of their
school functioning.
The main research questions in the Poznan survey were:
1. Are Poznan schools creating the context and the source of students’ experien-
ces that is supportive for their development? If yes, to what extent, in which
areas and how do they do it?
2. How advanced Poznan schools are in the implementation of selected edu-
cational priorities of Poznan city (students’ safety; environmental / climate
change education; equality education; education on the needs of the labor
2 Poznan Educational Studies were designed and conducted by the research team from the Faculty
of Educational Studies of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan.
Deficit of nature as a manifestation of a hidden curriculum of the school. Poznan…
(pp. 451–465) 457
In this paper, focused on the deficit of nature problem, using theoretical
background on the restorative function of nature and its positive influence on
human development, as well as the threats that come from a deficit of nature,
the research question is: Are Poznan schools’ students exposed to experiencing
the deficit of nature?
To answer this question, the analysis of data was conducted based on the
part of the survey referring to widely understood environmental education.
The questions asked in the paper are as follows:
Do students experience outdoor lessons in the greenery of the school surroundings?
Is the school engaged in environmental / climate change education? (Does
the school observe the ecological rules that are taught during lessons in the
school practice? Is environmental / climate change education mainstreamed
and taught as part of many different school subjects? Does the school fulfill
its tasks concerning environmental education and climate change?
Do students have access to silent places in which one can rest?
Are there differences in above listed areas of student experiences according
to the stage of education (differences between students of secondary and
primary schools)?
Is there a relation between the experience of outdoor lessons in nature and
student school outcomes?
Material and methods
Material for the study was derived from the survey of Poznan students conduc-
ted online for 2 age cohorts: students of the last year of primary schools and the
last year of secondary schools (15 and 18 years old, respectively). The online
questionnaire consisting of 98 questions was distributed to schools by the Poznan
city Department of Education via Librus an electronic communication system
used by schools in Poland. N=996 valid responses for the survey were received,
735 from secondary schools and 237 from primary schools.
For the purposes of this study, 5 questions referring to environmental
education and 2 to demographic data were selected:
Table 1. Questions selected for the study from the questionnaire of the survey conducted for
the project Poznan Educational Policy 2030
Nb in the
Questionnaire Question Abbreviation
The greenery surrounding my school is used
by teachers to run lessons, e.g. biology, geo-
graphy or other subjects
school greenery used for lessons
Kozłowska, Chmura-Rutkowska, Buchnat, Cybal-Michalska, Cytlak, Jaskulska, Kanclerz,
Marciniak, Myszka-Strychalska, Szafran, Wawrzyniak-Beszterda
458 (pp. 451–465)
Nb in the
Questionnaire Question Abbreviation
In my school rules of ecology which are taught
during lessons are implemented into school
practice (e.g. we learn about the harmfulness
of plastic, disposable plastic plates and cutlery
are withdrawn from the school cafeteria and
Ecological rules implemented into prac-
Environmental and climate change education
are present in the various school subjects and
after-school activities
Environmental education mainstre-
12.1 My school fulfills its tasks in the field of environ-
mental and climate change education
The school fulfills its task of teaching
environmental education
8.8 In my school silent places for resting are ava-
ilable during breaks Silent places
DEM 1 What type of school do you attend? Primary vs secondary school
What was the average of your school assess-
ments during last school year? School assessments
Source: Online survey questionnaire for the project “Poznan Educational Policy 2030.”
All the variables were nominal in character. Basic statistics were calculated
to present the distribution of answers. In order to assess the association between
variables, the Chi-square test, Phi coefficient, and Cramer’s V were conducted,
using the PS IMAGO PRO 7.0 (former SPSS Poland) program.
Basic statistics for the variables are shown in Table 1. They illustrate that Poznan
students learn mainly indoors: only 14% of students reported they have lessons
outside the school building; 69% said that the green surroundings of their schools
have not been used for educational purposes in their school lives. Almost 40%
of respondents reported no cohesion between environmental education content
which is part of the curriculum and school practice: they may learn at lessons that
they should avoid disposable plastic but in the school canteen they receive meals
in single-use plastic containers. Only one-third of respondents report that they
learn about environmental issues and climate change in different school subjects,
which means that the topic is mainstreamed and treated as interdisciplinary; mo-
re than 43% of them have not had such experience. Almost 50% of respondents
think their schools fulfill their tasks in the area of environmental education and
climate change. Only one-fifth of them has the opposite opinion. It may mean
that environmental education is well organized or that students have no expecta-
Deficit of nature as a manifestation of a hidden curriculum of the school. Poznan…
(pp. 451–465) 459
tions regarding that topic. Over 71% indicate that there is no quiet place in their
school for resting. This is indirect information also on the school grounds which,
if they were green and covered by trees, would give the opportunity for rest and
Table 2. Variables and their basic statistics
Variables Categories of answers (Likert Scale) (%) %
to say
12.4 The greenery surroun-
ding my school is used by
teachers to conduct lessons
4.3 9.7 16.9 27.4 41.6 100
12.3. In my school rules of
ecology which are taught at
lessons are implemented in
school practice (e.g. if we
learn about the harmfulness
of plastic, disposable plastic
is withdrawn from the school
cafeteria and canteen)
7.7 22.7 30.2 22.5 16.9 100
12.2. Environmental and cli-
mate change education are
present in the various school
subjects and after-school ac-
8.7 24.5 24.7 29.9 12.2 100
12.1. My school fulfills its
tasks in the field of environ-
mental and climate change
9.6 39 30.1 14.2 7.1 100
8.8. In my school silent pla-
ces for resting are available
during breaks
10.2 18.5 13.3 25.3 32.7 100
Source: preliminary report on survey results conducted for “Poznan Educational Policy 2030”
For the question What are your average school results from the last year? the
frequencies in categories were as follows: highest results, over 4.75 27%; the
moderate results, between 3.5 and 4.75 62.9%; low achievements, with the
average below 3.5 10.1%.
For the question of what type of school do the respondents attend, the
answer was the following: 257 (25.8%) attended primary schools; the rest of the
N=996 group of respondents attended various types of secondary schools (high
school – 428 students – 42%; technical school – 262 students 26.3%, vocational
school 44 students (4.4%), and 5 students gave other answers.
Kozłowska, Chmura-Rutkowska, Buchnat, Cybal-Michalska, Cytlak, Jaskulska, Kanclerz,
Marciniak, Myszka-Strychalska, Szafran, Wawrzyniak-Beszterda
460 (pp. 451–465)
To test whether there is a relationship or association between the variable
concerning lessons in the greenery surrounding the school and the other variables,
Chi-square(Χ2) tests were conducted for the pairs: 12.4–12.3; 12.4–12.2; 12.4–
12.1; 12.4–8.8 and between 12.4 and DEM2 (school assessments) variables. The
results are shown in Table 3. For all these pairs, except the last one, the p-value
in the Chi-square test was less than 0.001, which means that the variables are
associated and the associations are statistically highly significant. There was no
statistically significant association between the usage of the greenery in school
surroundings and the school results of the students.
To assess the effect size in the pairs of variables, the Phi coefficient (φ) and
Cramer’s V were calculated. The thresholds for low, medium and large effect
size were established based on Cohen et al. (2011, p. 654). A large effect (Phi
coefficient around 0.5) was observed for all the pairs except 12.4-DEM2 in the
primary school and for the pairs 12.4–12.3 and 12.4–12.2 in the secondary
schools. A medium effect (Phi = 0.3) was observed for the pairs: 12.4–12.1 and
12.4–8.8 in secondary schools. For the 12.4–DEM2 pair, the effect was low and
statistically insignificant, however, the Phi-coefficient was twice higher and the
p-level much lower in the primary school group.
Table 3. Chi-square test and effect size for the 12.4 variable paired with 12.3, 12.2; 12.1;
8.8, DEM2, in the groups of primary and secondar y schools. Effect size for the Phi
coefficient: *low effect (0.1); **medium effect (0.3); ***large effect (0.5)
Variables paired with 12.4
(school greenery
used for lessons)
Primary school Secondary School
primary school
high school
12.3 Ecological rules implemented
into practice
φ = 0.569***
p <0.001
p <0.001
12.2 Environmental education ma-
p <0.001
p <0.001
12.1. My school fulfills its tasks in
EE and CCE
p <0.001
8.8. Silent places
p <0.001
DEM 2 School assessments
Source: row data from research conducted for the project “Poznan Educational Policy 2030”.
Deficit of nature as a manifestation of a hidden curriculum of the school. Poznan…
(pp. 451–465) 461
Results of the study show that regardless of the obligation under the national
curriculum framework, during lessons students have very limited contact with
nature. It is expressed particularly strong in the secondary school and is connec-
ted with generally disregarding attitude of schools towards the environment and
environmental education, and the school space which lacks silent places for rest
and relaxation.
Our results are in line with other studies on e.g. lack of outdoor education
in the Polish schools (Michalak & Parczewska, 2019), anthropocentric philosophy
in the national curriculum framework (Gola, 2018; Kozłowska, 2021a, 2021b),
and in primary science, biology and geography handbooks (Gola, 2018). However,
lack of statistically significant association between the experience of having the
lessons outside in the school greenery and students assessment is a surprise,
because positive influence of lessons in nature on school results were reported
by several researchers (Chawla, 2018; Lieberman & Hoody, 1998; D. Williams et
al., 2018; D. R. Williams & Dixon, 2013). The explanation of this discrepancy
may be the nominal character of the variable of school assessments used in the
study. Only 3 wide categories of assessments limited the precision of analyses
and may be responsible for the lack of statistically significant association. The
second reason of this result may be the fact that school assessments refer mainly
to academic achievements defined in the curriculum and as such the system of
assessment may be insensitive to benefits of learning in nature, such as emotional
balance, creativity, attention.
This article proves that students in Poznan schools are exposed to nature
deficit and are at risk of nature deficit disorder. This fact results from open and
hidden assumptions of the school curriculum. A XIX-century German pedagogue,
who was one of the first to lay the foundation for the system of kindergarten
education, noticed nature as a key element of education theory and practice.
He believed in the role of nature in well-being, development and learning of
children and coined the term kindergarten as he saw the place of children’s early
education as gardens. In his concept of human education and development he
used a metaphor of a plant which needs care and appropriate environmental
conditions for it to grow. The garden was a place of appropriate conditions for
the growth and development of children, as it gave a space for everyday activity
and contact with nature (Tewes, 2020).
Since Fröbel’s times, a lot has changed in pedagogy and the climate. Studies
on the hypothesis of biophilia by the biologist and environmental theorist Ed-
ward O. Wilson (Wilson, 1984), proved that humans have a natural inclination
to seek contact with nature. This inspired millions of people all over the world to
Kozłowska, Chmura-Rutkowska, Buchnat, Cybal-Michalska, Cytlak, Jaskulska, Kanclerz,
Marciniak, Myszka-Strychalska, Szafran, Wawrzyniak-Beszterda
462 (pp. 451–465)
look for solutions, also through education which could allow people to reconnect
with nature (Burgess and Mayer-Smith, 2011). Sociologist and environmentalist S.
Kellert, a co-operator of Wilson (Kellertand Wilson, 1993), conducted studies on
the long-term and short-term effects of nature curricula pedagogy (Kellert, 1985;
Derr, 2002). He deepened the understanding of the relations between humans
and nature and widened the concept of biophilia into the theory and practice of
biophilic design. The purpose of biophilic design is the promotion of physical and
mental health and condition, fitness, productivity, and well-being through creating
a space in which one may experience nature (Kellert, 2005; Kellert and Calabrese,
2015). According to Kellert, there are 3 ways in which humans may experience
nature in the anthropogenically altered environment:
direct experience of nature, such as multisensory contact with plants, living
animals or landscapes;
indirect experience of nature, e.g. using natural materials or motifs,
symbolic experience of nature through the experience of place and space ste-
eped in symbolic and ecologic meanings (Kellert and Calabrese, 2015).
This study of Poznan schools shows that using R. Meighan’s words, schools
are still ruled by ghosts of ancestral spirits, who understand nature as a human
property that should be understood, submitted, and exploited for their own ben-
efits. The construction and design of school buildings and their surroundings re-
viles the hidden program of the school space and the organization of the didactic
process as an education inside the school building, in closed space, sitting at the
school desks deepens Louv’s nature deficit. Thus, nature becomes a part of the
null curriculum in Polish education.
How long should we wait for the awakening of education in this area?
Should forest kindergartens and school forests be mere islands of educational re-
sistance (Sliwerski, 1993) against the majority who ignore knowledge about the
influence of nature on human welfare and development (Godawa, 2021; Szlauzys,
2019, Kaliszuk and Mirzyńska, 2021; Białek et al., 2021)? Nature was and still
is a home for human beings who, regardless of their environmental awareness,
are interconnected with everything that creates nature is a part of nature. Con-
tact with the natural environment and experience of nature is a precondition of
mental and physical health. In the context of environmental crisis, understanding
these rules and interconnectedness as well as the language of nature is the most
important goal and challenge of contemporary education.
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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