Promoting environmentally responsible behaviors in public elementary schools’ children

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Isabel Leon Villasmil (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Amanda Gale

Abstract: Environmental education (EE) has become necessary due to the environmental problems affecting the world. Schools have made efforts to incorporate the content into the curriculum to educate future generations about the environment, with the goal of increasing environmental literacy and the practice of environmentally responsible behaviors (ERBs) (Chapman, 2014; Conde & Sanchez, 2010). Research and design guidelines have been developed to help schools design buildings that enhance health, wellbeing, and environmental literacy. The design strategies proposed thus far have been successful in creating sustainable learning environments, particularly within new construction (United States Green Building Council, 2018; CHPS, 2006). However, existing aging buildings have more constraints when trying to incorporate these strategies, specifically Title I public schools facilities. High-poverty schools do not receive enough funding to improve learning environments and transform the building into a teaching tool for EE. This research sought to understand the relationship between knowledge and ERBs and explored students’ perceptions of the school at one Title I public elementary school. A paper-based questionnaire was used to collect data from 38 fifth-grade students in the exploratory study. The results indicate that students did not have adequate knowledge on the environment, but they did engage in the practice of ERBs. Physical opportunities and visual elements were mentioned as components of the school interior that would encourage ERBs. Considering these findings, low-cost design recommendations were created to be easily implemented in existing buildings that house Title I schools. The goal is that through the implementation of these design recommendations, schools can increase environmental knowledge and encourage the practice of environmentally responsible behaviors without adding more work for teachers.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Built environment, Environmental education, Environmental knowledge, Environmentally Responsible Behaviors, Interior Architecture, Public schools
School buildings $x Environmental aspects
Environmental education
Education, Elementary

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