Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Investigating Elementary School Students' Perceptions about Environment through Their Drawings

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Investigating Elementary School Students' Perceptions about Environment through Their Drawings

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to determine elementary school students' perceptions about environment through their drawings. The study was carried out during the spring semester of 2010-2011 academic year. A total of 429 elemen¬tary school students, including 68 fourth grade, 78 fifth grade, 97 sixth grade, 85 seventh grade, 101 eighth grade oarticipated in the study. The study was conducted by descriptive method and the data of the study were collected by draw-and-explamtask. During the data collection students were asked to draw a picture of environment and explair their drawings. The results revealed that elementary school students usually draw humans, different kinds of plants and animals, constructions like houses and factories, abiotic factors such as mountains, lakes, sun in their drawings. 3esides, 35.43% of students drew dirty, 59.21% of them drew clean and 5.36% of them drew both clean and dirty environments in their drawings. The results of the study also showed that with increasing age there is a decrease n the number of students drawing a clean environment and an increase in the number of students drawing a poi¬nted environment. Students usually drew local environmental problems such as air pollution, soil pollution, water oollution and disordered urbanization. Based on the drawings it can be concluded that children see human as a part of the environment, think that they are affected by environmental problems as other living things and human basec activities are the main causes of environmental problems.

Key Words

Environmental Education, Drawings of Environment, Elementary School Students, Elementary School Students' Perceptions about Environment

Since the first appearance of the human beings on earth, they have been affected by events taking pla¬ce around and at the same time they have put inf¬luences on earth in various ways, somehow chan¬ged and destroyed it. In the ancient times, human beings created weapons from stones and metals, hunted animals to feed themselves, used animal skins to cover their bodies, and took shelters in ca¬ves (Adams, 1996). Until the 19th century, human beings thought that earths resources they used for different purposes are limitless and inexhaustible, and did not realize the impacts of the harms they gave to environment on themselves (Dogan, 1988). Unconscious exploitation of natural resources and the nonrenewable nature of some of these resources resulted in continuous destruction of the natural balance and increase in environmental problems experienced on earth. Global warming, extincti-on of plant and animal species, rapidly increasing population, increasing consumption, irresponsible exploitation of natural resources, pollution of air, water and land, and nuclear pollution are the most important environmental problems we face today (Brown, 1991; Brundtland, 1987; Goodland 1995; MacNeill, Winsemius, & Yakushiji, 1991; Redclift, 1984). These environmental problems came to an extent threatening the future of humanity.

Environmental problems came to the agenda of the international community for the first time with the conference organized in Stockholm and since then they have become a common topic of discussions. In Brundland Report issued in 1987, the term 'sus¬tainable development' was mentioned for the first time and this term was described as "meeting the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own ne¬eds" (Brundtland, 1987, p. 43). For the measures determined in various meetings and conferences to be effective, education has an important role to play since through education peoples awareness of environmental problems can be raised and as result people may develop more sensitive and res¬ponsible attitudes towards environmental prob¬lems (Flogati, 2006).

Though environmental education started to draw the attention of people in 1970s in the world, it came to the notice of the public with the approval of environment right in 1982 constitution in Tur¬key. …

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