Lindemann – Matthies, P., (2002). The Influence of an Educational Program on Children’s Perception of Biodiversity. The Journal of Environmental Education, 33, 22-31.
In the article “The Influence of an Educational Program on Children’s Perception of Biodiversity,” the researcher is conducting of study of children in Switzerland to see if a program geared toward biodiversity will increase a child’s appreciation of it. The study was based around a program called “Nature on the Way to School.” in which children choose and animal or plant, learn as much as they can about it, and share it with anyone who will listen. The point of the program is to get children to appreciate the diversity of life and help them to realize how important each individual species is. There are more than 4,000 children being used in this study from 248 classes, all of which range in grade levels.
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This article was indeed a quantitative research article, however, in the first few passages I could not find where the researcher had stated his hypothesis. I did find where he stated questions that he wanted answered during the study: (1) Did the educational program increase Swiss children’s perception of species? (2) Did the program lead to the children’s acquaintance with species that they previously did not know? (3) Was the program’s outcome related to the time spent on the program? (4) Did the children’s age and sex influence the program’s outcome? This was something that threw me for a loop, but as I read on, the article was more and more quantitative with this one exception. The Influence of an Educational Program 3
This article is considered quantitative based on the researcher’s large stud group of over 4,000 students. Of course, this group was tested using a pre-test and posttest. The subjects were randomly selected, and teachers who had ordered materials for the “Nature on the Way to School” program were asked if they would like to participate in the study. There was a control group and a test group. The test group was the children that participated in the program. The control group was made up of children who did not participate in the program and just went through a regular course of study. The data from both groups was collected through the use of pre and posttest questionnaires. The pre-test questionnaires were the same for both groups, and were given prior to starting the program. However, the posttest questionnaires for the control group had only 18 questions, while the questionnaire for the test group had 25. I am not sure that I agree with this particular method. It would seem that the The Influence of an Educational Program 4
researcher would want to keep the tests identical for both groups. The researcher did not give a reason for use of fewer questions on the posttest for the control group, which to me still seems odd and that the data may not be completely accurate. The only thing that I could come up with is that the extra 7 questions dealt directly with the program, which of course the control group was not participating in, and would have no knowledge of. In the conclusion of this study, it was found that both the control and test groups’ knowledge of biodiversity had increased. The test group showed a greater increase than that of the control group, this fact helps prove the progress of the “Nature on the Way to School” program. As for the age and sex of a child affecting the outcome, age did not seem to play a very important role except in the identification of different species of plants.
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There was an increase in plant identification up until age 10 and then seemed to drop off. As for the sex of a child affecting the outcome, girls scored considerably higher than boys. I personally feel that it is important for children to have an understanding of nature and the world around them. Whether they live in a rural community, urban, or suburban. Even though this study was conducted in Switzerland, a similar study was mentioned that took place in the United States. It would be interesting to read the U. S. article, and compare the two findings.