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Colorful nature and grey misery: Science and technology in an environmental context as analysed in pictures made by 11- to 13-year-old Swiss students


Zeyer, A; Kägi, S (2010). Colorful nature and grey misery: Science and technology in an environmental context as analysed in pictures made by 11- to 13-year-old Swiss students. Canadian Journal for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education, 10(1):40-60.

Abstract

We asked 408 eleven- to 13-year-old Swiss children to draw a picture of their choice about “the environment.” We were especially interested in how these children presented the role of science and technology in an environmental context. The qualitative content analysis of the pictures was complemented by the results of a survey that consisted of 15 environmental questions used in the Relevance of Science Education (ROSE) study. Our students showed a clear preference for an ecological, ecocentric stance. A colorful, untouched, idealized nature represented a normative threshold for a desirable situation. Technology was pictured as an instrument of human alienation from nature, creating a grey, hostile civilization dominated by science and technology. We conclude that science education has the delicate task of introducing students to more scientific, fact-oriented, pragmatic thinking without destroying their ecocentric, value-oriented views on environmental protection, thus fostering a constructive approach toward science and technology as instruments for a sustainable coexistence of humans and nature.

We asked 408 eleven- to 13-year-old Swiss children to draw a picture of their choice about “the environment.” We were especially interested in how these children presented the role of science and technology in an environmental context. The qualitative content analysis of the pictures was complemented by the results of a survey that consisted of 15 environmental questions used in the Relevance of Science Education (ROSE) study. Our students showed a clear preference for an ecological, ecocentric stance. A colorful, untouched, idealized nature represented a normative threshold for a desirable situation. Technology was pictured as an instrument of human alienation from nature, creating a grey, hostile civilization dominated by science and technology. We conclude that science education has the delicate task of introducing students to more scientific, fact-oriented, pragmatic thinking without destroying their ecocentric, value-oriented views on environmental protection, thus fostering a constructive approach toward science and technology as instruments for a sustainable coexistence of humans and nature.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Education
Dewey Decimal Classification:370 Education
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:04 Mar 2011 18:26
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:46
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1492-6156
Additional Information:Special Issue: Environmental Education in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education
Publisher DOI:10.1080/14926150903574304

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