A comparative study of Canadian and Taiwanese grade 5 children’s environmental behaviors, attitudes, concerns, emotional dispositions, and knowledge

  • Hsin-Ping Huang
  • Larry D. Yore


The multicultural nature of today’s elementary school classrooms in Australia, Europe, and North America bring interesting cultural and linguistic influences to constructivist-oriented environmental education programs. Students’ prior knowledge, beliefs, values, and attitudes might affect their understandings about and actions toward the environment. This study explored the cultural influences on children’s self-reported environmental behaviors, perceptions, and understandings; investigated the differences between two culturally distinct groups; and developed models of children’s responsible environmental behavior. English and Mandarin questionnaires developed with reasonable validity and reliability were used to collect data regarding children’s environmental behaviors, attitudes, concerns, emotional dispositions, knowledge, and situational factors causing children’s irresponsible behavior. Useable data collected from 278 grade 5 children from Victoria, BC, Canada, and 483 grade 5 children from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, were analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-tests, and multiple regression analyses. The results revealed more similarities than differences with small to moderate effect sizes within and between these Canadian and Taiwanese children. Television was the most popular source of environmental information for both groups of children. Canadian children had much more variety and frequency of nature activities than Taiwanese children. Children from both countries expressed positive environmental behavior, positive attitudes toward the environment, high concern about the environmental problems, high emotional disposition toward current environmental situations, and moderate environmental knowledge. The original model of children’s responsible environmental behavior did not fully reflect these Canadian and Taiwanese data; therefore, alternative models were developed. Affective variables appear to be stronger influences on children’s responsible environmental behavior than the cognitive variable.

Key words

comparative study children’s perceptions understandings and behaviors environmental education 


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Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hsin-Ping Huang
    • 1
  • Larry D. Yore
    • 2
  1. 1.Tung-An Elementary SchoolTaoyuanTaiwan, ROC
  2. 2.Department of Curriculum and InstructionUniversity of VictoriaVictoria, BCCanada

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