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Teacher environmental attitudes and the zoo as an educational tool: using conservation education resources to supplement classroom teachings.
Kansas City, MO
Kansas City, University of Missouri, Ph. D., 2002
The purpose of this study was to determine whether a brief intervention has an impact on teacher attitudinal values about the environment and their self-reported pedagogy of a zoo visit. Further, this research investigated the existence of a relationship between teachers' attitudes toward the environment and teachers' self-reported fieldtrip use of the zoo or other informal science education locations. Teachers from a Midwestern greater metropolitan area, including those enrolled in an urban zoo introductory teacher training course, were the subjects of this study. A pretest was administered to teachers in the control and treatment groups with a posttest administered approximately three months later. Treatment consisted of participation a four-day continuing education course available for graduate credit from a local university. Gagne's internal processes of learning and events of instruction were used in designing the treatment. The instrument used in this study consisted of three sub scales, pastoralism, urbanism, and environmental adaptation. Second was the Desired Pedagogy for a Zoo Visit scale. Next was the Field trip use of Informal Science Education Resources followed by a section to collect demographic information. Both the Desired Pedagogy for a Zoo Visit scale and the Field trip use of Informal Science Education Resources scale showed poor reliability in the final analysis. Pretest and posttest data were analyzed using t-tests with results showing a statistically significant difference (p<.01) in scores for the Environmental Values Short Form, however the results were in a negative and undesired direction. The other scales did not show any significant differences between pre and posttest scores. Due to unreliable instruments, the primary purposes of this research were not fully recognized. Areas for further investigation are identified to address unmet goals of this research. In addition, other topics as revealed through this investigation are posed for further research.