The influence of a residential outdoor education programme to pupil’s environmental perception



This empirical study finds support for the hypothesis that participation in a special residential education programme enhances facets of pupils’ environmental perception. A 4-day extra-curricular educational unit with a cognitive outdoors focus (established in a nature centre in France) was surveyed by using a two stage sampling design in a pre-post-treatment evaluation; the post-test was delayed for a one-month period after participation. All selected participating pupils (n=151) responded twice to the same perception questionnaire. The factorial structure of this questionnaire had been previously developed using a large European sample (n=4500) and separately validated in a smaller French pupil sample (n=900). The matched-pair pre-post-test survey showed significant differences in two of the five primary factors; both of them covered utilitarian preferences and scored in a way which indicated an increase in sensitivity to the environment. A pre-post-tested control group (n=78) revealed no significant difference. Possible reasons for the partial shift in primary factors are discussed, including a consideration of two related studies (in Germany and Switzerland) which were both monitored by the same measurement instrument.

Key words

Empirical evaluation Environmental perception Gender Outdoor education programme Secondary school pupils 


L’hypothèse suivante sous-tend cette étude empirique: la participation dans un programme éducatif résidentiel améliore la perception que les élèves ont de l’environment. L’impact d’un stage de 4 jours dans un centre nature en France a été mesuré par un pré et un post-test. Le post-test a été proposé un mois après la participation au stage. Les élèves sélectionnés (N=151) ont répondu deux fois au même questionnaire de perceptions. La structure de ce questionnaire avait été développée avec un large échantillon européen (N=4500) et validé séparément sur un échantillon de 900 élèves français. Les pré et post-tests ont permis de mettre en évidence une différence significative concernant deux des cinq facteurs primaires. Ceux-ci portaient sur les préférences d’utilisation de la nature et indiquaient une augmentation de la sensibilité à l’environnement. Un groupe contrôle pré-et post-test n’a pas de différence significative. Des raisons possibles pour la modification partielle de ces facteurs primaires sont discutées, prenant en considération deux études similaires, basées sur l’utilisation des mêmes instruments de mesure.


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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Biology and its Didactics, Institute of Natural SciencesUniversity of EducationLudwigsburgGermany

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