Journal of Elementary Science Education

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 1-14

First online:

The effect of teaching outdoor environmental education on elementary preservice teachers’ self-efficacy

  • Christine MoseleyAffiliated withSchool of Curriculum and Educational Leadership, Oklahoma State University Email author 
  • , Kay ReinkeAffiliated withSchool of Curriculum and Educational Leadership, Oklahoma State University
  • , Veronica BookoutAffiliated withOklahoma Department of Forestry

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a training and teaching program for outdoor environmental education on preservice teachers’ self-efficacy—a teacher’s belief that he or she can teach environmental education effectively. Participants in the study were 72 preservice elementary teachers taking a science methodology course at a state university in the Midwest. Consenting participants were divided into two groups for this modified pretest-two posttest-control group study. The instrument for all three tests was Sia’s Environmental Education Efficacy Belief Instrument (EEEBI), and group means were compared using parametric tests. The results suggested that the preservice teachers’ self-efficacy was high before the program and remained unchanged by the training and teaching experience, but dropped significantly approximately seven weeks after teaching. The lack of change in self-efficacy during the training and teaching experience was attributed to the structured nature of the training and the success of the teaching experience, while the negative effect of time on self-efficacy was believed to result from the preservice teachers re-evaluating their ability to teach as they learned more about teaching methodologies.