ENVIRONMENTAL ATTITUDES OF PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS: A CASE STUDY AT AFYONKARAHİSAR

Yunus Emre YÜKSEL- Mehmet Tamer KAYA

STRUCTURED ABSTRACT

Introduction and objective of the study

Life standards of human are increasing day-by-day and as a result of increasing standards people start to use more energy, material and field in order to meet their needs. Therefore, a new vision is necessary to save the World from side effects of increasing consumption. The main effect of increasing power and material need is environmental problems such as global warming, melting of ice caps, acid rains and decrease of beneficial agricultural fields etc. It can be said that the biggest share of informing people is belonging to teachers especially in primary school levels. Elementary school teachers may easily touch people and inspire them. Hence, the environmental attitudes of elementary school teachers play very crucial role.  The aim of this study is to determine the environmental attitudes of elementary sciences pre-service teachers and social studies pre-service teachers and to investigate the effects of some variables which are gender, department and educational status of pre-service teachers’ fathers and mothers on environmental attitudes of pre-service teachers participated in the study.  There are five questions in this study of which answers are investigated. These questions are 1) What is the level of environmental attitude of pre-service teachers? 2)Is there a significant difference on environmental attitude of pre-service teachers in terms of gender? 3) Is there a significant difference on environmental attitude of pre-service teachers in terms of their department? 4) Is there a significant difference on environmental attitude of pre-service teachers in terms of their mothers’ education status? 5) Is there a significant difference on environmental attitude of pre-service teachers in terms of their fathers’ education status?

Conceptual framework

Environment term is started to use widely in the last quarter of 20th century as a result of threated human being by environmental problems (Karatekin & Aksoy, 2012). Therefore, a new education method for the saving of environment has been necessary. Education system should consist of approaches that educate people sensitive to environment (Kaya, 2014).

Education of young people is very crucial subject because they will be responsible for dealing with environmental problems as future scientist, teachers, policy makers and consumers (Bradley, Waliczek, & Zajicek, 1999). Hence, it can be said that new education model should change radically attitudes and behaviors of people toward the environment. According to Atasoy and Ertürk(Atasoy & Ertürk, 2008) education for environment should intertwine with curriculum of citizenship, human rights, ecology, aesthetic, moral and democracy lectures. In order to design such an education model, problems concerning environment should be revealed firstly. Then, specific solution for countries can be drawn. In literature there are many studies indicating that environment education is not enough and it is only memorial not applicable (Liere & Dunlap, 1980) (Brewer, 2001) (Webb & Boltt, 1990) (Orr, 2004) (Özkan, Tekkaya, & Geban, 2001) (Haktanır & Çabuk, 2000).

 

Method

In this study, descriptive survey design which is one of the quantitative research approaches is used. The research instrument was determined after a process of examination of the literature. Participants of this study is total 82 pre-service teachers of which are 62 female and 20 male pre-service teachers. Maximum variation sampling method was used to select the sample of the study. The reason for choosing this method is to reflect the ideas and thoughts of participants having different attitudes (Yıldırım & Şimşek, 2013). Participants are volunteer for this research and they are senior students in AfyonKocatepe University Elementary Science Education and Social Studies Education department.

As data collection tool, ‘Attitude scale toward environmental problems’ developed by Şama (2003) was used. The scale used in this research contains 21 questions. The scale was 5 point likert scale which is ‘strongly disagree’, ‘disagree’, ‘indecisive’, ‘agree’ and ‘strongly agree’. 10 of scale items are negative and 11 of them are positive. Cronbach alpha (α) reliability factor value for original scale is .77 and the reliability factor for this research is found as .72.

Arithmetic mean, t test and Kruskall Wallis test are performed for the data gathered from 82 preservice teachers. T test is applied to decide whether gender and their department affect their environmental attitude level or not. On the other hand, Kruskall Wallis test is applied for whether their parents’ educational status affects their environmental attitude level or not.

Results and Discussion

As results indicated arithmetic mean of scores obtained from 82 pre-service teachers is 76.32. Also, results showed that scores of pre-service teachers from social studies department are lower than scores of pre-service teachers from elementary science education department.

Scores of female pre-service teachers were found a little bit lower than male pre-service teachers (X60=76,22 and X22=76,59, respectively). However, there is not any meaningful difference between them.

When compared departments of participants, scores of pre-service teachers from elementary science department (X40=78,53) are higher than scores of social studies department pre-service teachers (X35=74,66). As a result, there could not be found any statistically meaningful difference between them.

Finally, the effects of educational status of parents of participants were investigated and results indicated that there was not any statistically meaningful difference between environmental attitudes and parents’ education status.

Conclusions

According to findings of this study following remarks can be concluded and suggested:

  • Environmental education lectures and their weekly hours can be increased,
  • Applied studies of environmental education can be increased in order to be more effective on students’ perception.
  • Opportunities for pre-service teachers for field trips can be raised. Therefore, these types of educations contribute the environmental attitudes of pre-service teachers.

Keywords: pre-service teachers, environmental attitude, gender, elementary science department, social studies department

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