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Wild Birds in the Classroom: Evaluation of Student Affinities, Perceptions, and Attitudes in Response to an Experiential Curriculum
Janel L. Ortiz, April A.T. Conkey, Leonard A. Brennan, La Vonne Fedynich, & Marybeth Green
pp. 787-803 | Article Number: ijese.2018.070
Lack of positive outdoor experiences may lead a child to grow up perceiving that the natural world has little importance in our modern technology-based society; thus, they might not appreciate local wildlife or be interested in natural resource careers. To address this issue, we initiated a Student-Teacher-Scientist-Partnership (STSP) to enhance the knowledge and attitudes of students towards birdlife in South Texas. We developed a wild bird conservation curriculum aligned with state standards for use in K-12 classrooms. We assessed 6th (n=39) and 7th grade (n=52) students’ affinity, perceptions, and attitudes towards wildlife, birds, science, and nature prior to and after the program using a mixed methods design of open-ended questions and Likert-type statements. Student Likert-type statement responses were analyzed using an upper-tailed Sign test. We expected students to improve or respond more positively to their affinity, perceptions, and attitudes towards birds, wildlife, science, and nature in response to the curriculum. Students had a positive attitude towards wildlife and working with a scientist. Their perceptions towards habitat fragmentation and its effect on wildlife improved as well as their perceived knowledge of birds. Seventh grader attitudes improved towards their ability to identify birds, yet 6th grader attitudes remained similar. Lessons provided local students with an opportunity to integrate hands-on, kit-based wildlife science activities into the classroom to enhance their appreciation of wildlife. Students also had the opportunity to be outdoors while being introduced to the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) career of wildlife biology.
Keywords: K-12, kit-based, experiential, wildlife education, birds, scientist in the classroom
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Satisfaction of Primary School Teachers with the Environmental Communication of Mass Media: Opportunities for the Environmental Education
pp. 805-816 | Article Number: ijese.2018.071
The role of mass media in the educational process is of particular importance, since mass media make the object of teaching more interesting and enjoyable. The use of media in education is recognized from early childhood, and especially at kindergarten, where it has been proven that the earlier the use of media begins, the more effective it turns out to be. The relationship that evolves between the media, environmental knowledge and the environmental awareness of teachers is characterized by a continuous state of interdependence, since it is linked to Environmental Communication and the effective role of education. The aim of this paper is to examine the teachers’ satisfaction with the use and role of media in environmental communication. The paper analyses the satisfaction of teachers in primary education, through their attitudes and beliefs. By having a large volume of information related to their individual cognitive fields at their disposal, teachers can play a vital role in raising environmental awareness among students and in providing an elementary understanding of environmental problems. This paper is based on a survey conducted during the period 2014-2015, on a sample of 392 primary education teachers, working at various school units in Central Macedonia, Greece. Based on the results of the analysis, conclusions can be drawn with regard to defining a suitable educational policy related to the role of media, and their optimum use in environmental education and communication.
Keywords: primary education, teacher’s behavior, descriptive statistical analysis
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