IMPROVISED ECO – THEATRE AS EDUCATIONAL TOOL FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS OF ELEMENTARY STUDENTS
Harokopio University (GREECE)
About this paper:
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:This session reports on a study which is in progress and involves the implementation of a new teaching model in elementary school that introduces the improvised ecological theater (eco – theater) as a teaching tool in environmental education.
The research questions raised are whether the implementation of improvised eco - theater in the context of environmental education of elementary students:
(i) enhances the ability to understand the basic principles and concepts of ecology, more than the traditional way of teaching, and
(ii) contributes to the adoption of more environmentally friendly attitudes and values.
The core objective of the research is to examine whether the use of improvised eco - theater as an educational tool can help raise environmental awareness among primary school students. Following the taxonomy of educational objectives in the three basic domains of human behavior (Cognitive, Affective and Psychomotor domain), the aims of the research is to examine; As to the Cognitive domain,
(i) the level of students’ understanding of basic Environmental Education concepts and of basic drama techniques, and
(ii) the degree of student response to this new teaching model where drama techniques are applied.As to the Affective domain,
(i) what environmentally friendly attitudes and values students developed,
(ii) what socio-emotional skills students developed (skills, values, positive attitudes, sympathy, empathy), and
(iii) what communication skills students developed (teamwork, inclusiveness, cooperation, decision-making ability).
As to the Psychomotor domain:
(i) the degree of familiarity of the students with the use of drama techniques in the educational process,
(ii) whether the application of drama techniques in the educational process encourages students to externalize their feelings and thoughts, enhances students' ability to express themselves verbally and physically, and encourages students to artistic expression.
The participants were 28 students from two classes of a primary school (10 -11 years old), their teacher and the researcher. To provide answers to these research questions, the method of ‘action – research’ was chosen. Questionnaires were given to the students at the beginning and at the end of the program, in order to examine the learning background, experiences and knowledge of the students and how these where affected or changed at the end of the "intervention".
The duration of the program was 4 months (16 sessions). The main animator was the researcher with the valuable participation of one of the teacher’s class which had the role of the 'critical friend'. As a result of the intervention, the students created an improvised eco-drama, which was presented to their parents, friends and schoolmates at the end of the school year.
The conclusions conducted show a significant change/improvement in all three basic domains of human behavior as much as an increased awareness of students about the environment.
Keywords: Eco–theater, environment, environmental awareness.