Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Teaching and Learning

Program/Concentration

Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Director

Daniel Dickerson

Committee Member

Linda Bol

Committee Member

Leigh Butler

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to determine the nature of the relationship between urban elementary fifth graders, environmental workers, and the environment. The study examined 320 urban fifth grade elementary students' drawings of environmental scientists (DAEST) and environmental caretakers (DAECT). Additionally, semi-structured interviews were included to elucidate student illustrations. The study's sample represented one-third of all fifth graders in the mid-Atlantic school district selected for this research. Approximately 5% of participants were chosen for follow-up semi-structured interviews based on their illustrations.

A general conclusion is some of the stereotypes, particularly related to gender, revealed in prior research (Barman, 1999, Chambers, 1983; Huber & Burton, 1995; Schibeci & Sorensen's, 1983; Sumrall, 1995) are evident among many elementary students. Male environmental scientists were drawn twice as often as female environmental scientists. Females were represented in more pictures of environmental caretakers than environmental scientists. Students overwhelmingly drew environmental scientists (98.1%) and environmental caretakers (76.5%) working alone.

Wildlife was noticeably absent from most drawings (85%). Where wildlife was included, it was most often birds (6.9%) and fish (3.1%). More than one species was evident in only 2.5% of the pictures.

Fifty percent of environmental caretakers were shown picking up trash from land. Actions such as reducing resource use occurred in only 13 out of 319 pictures (4.1%). Pictures of environmental caretakers sharing knowledge were even less common (2.5%). Almost 22% of females drew multiple individuals compared to 18.5% drawn by males. Females were more likely to show individuals collaborating (22.4% to 16.8%) while males were more likely to show individuals working in opposition (5.2% to 2.0%).

DOI

10.25777/5hsy-a784

ISBN

9781124038995

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