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BNELIT - Datenbank zu Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung: wissenschaftliche Literatur und Materialien
Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung: wiss. Literatur und Materialien (BNELIT)
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Outdoor Activities as a Basis for Environmental Responsibility.
The Journal of Environmental Education
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Abstract: Different environmental education programs (field trips, hiking, camps, adventure activities) aim to develop pupils' affective relationship to the natural environment, their environmental sensitivity, and outdoor behavior, as well as their social relationships, through personal experiences. This study discusses the results of experiences from outdoor activities involving 11- and 12-year-old pupils in Rovaniemi and Vaasa, Finland. The qualitative research methods comprised case studies involving questionnaires, individual interviews, drawings, photographs of landscapes, and participant observations during camps. Nature experiences developed the pupils' self-confidence and feelings of safety, in particular, which in turn increased their willingness to participate in future outdoor activities. In this way, nature began to have new meanings for them on a personal level. Comparing pupils who were experienced in outdoor activities with pupils who were not, it was found that the former seemed to have a strong and clearly definable empathic relationship to nature. They also exhibited better social behavior and higher moral judgements. The reasons for conflicts between environmental attitudes and action, still observable in some experienced boys of the Vaasa group, are discussed in terms of conscious vs. unconscious action and applied knowledge. The role and possibilities of outdoor education in environmental education and natural studies are emphasized for schools as well as for teacher education.
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