MOTIVATING TEACHER AND STUDENT ENGAGEMENT WITH THE ENVIRONMENT THROUGH RENEWABLE ENERGY EDUCATION
Patel, Nirav S
Environmental and energy education is focused on fostering environmental behavior. This study investigates empirically if education leads to changes in environmental attitudes and subsequent environmentally significant behavior (ESB). The study contextualizes teachers’ and students’ motivation to engage in ESB within an environmental educational training framework. The results of structured questionnaires administered in Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwestern K-12 schools (n=214 for teachers and n=1498 for students) reveal that environmental attitudes are not a good predictor of teaching behavior but they do predict students’ intent towards ESB. Teachers’ energy attitudes are a better predictor in motivating them to teach while students are most responsive to their affective attitudes. The study finds that education does not play a significant role in changing environmental or energy attitudes of teachers and students. The study also advances a methodological tool for data collection that can expand the reach of evaluation instruments and measure learning across formal and informal audiences. It highlights how interactional technology can be readily utilized for future research and outreach in classrooms, nature learning centers, professional training programs, and museums. Overall, the work advances social-psychological understanding of how adults and youth respond to educational programming. It highlights the need to go beyond the cognitive shifts in affecting behavior. Curriculum based on environment might be necessary but is often not sufficient for changing environmental values. Finally, information and knowledge acquired must motivate the teachers’ and students’ desire and ability to conscientiously act, wherever necessary.
Environmental education; Educational psychology; Energy; attitudes; environmental behavior; K-12; Renewable energy education; sustainability
Stedman, Richard Clark
Rutzke, Corinne; Fahey, Timothy James; Allred, Shorna Broussard; Park, Travis D.
PHD of Natural Resources
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis